Discipleship/DNA Training #1
April 8th 2017
Note: This is an introduction and not comprehensive
“We are not called to help people. We are called to follow Jesus, in whose service we learn who we are and how we are to help and be helped.” Stanley Hauerwas and Wil Willimon
“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20
What is a Disciple?
Which statement is most accurate? Disciples are…
- Committed believers?
- Special Ministers?
- Discipleship comes later?
- Converts who are in the process of Discipleship?
- Christians/Followers of Jesus?
- Acts 4:32; 6:2,7; 9:26; 11:26; 14:21-22 11:6
- What would a “Disciple” look like?
- “Already not Yet”
- Conformity to Christ (Romans 8:29ff Luke 6:40)
- Desire to Obey (1 John 2:3-4)
- Growing Love for God and others (Matthew 22:37-39; 1 John 2:9; 3:17)
What then is Discipleship?
- The term isn’t found in scripture
- “Strengthening” à Acts 14:22; 15:41; 18:23
- “Strengthened” à Acts 16:5; Ephesians 3:16; Colossians 1:11
- “Strengthen” à 1 Thessalonians 3:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:17; 3:3
- “Establish” à Romans 16:25; 1 Thessalonians 3:13
- “Established” à Romans 1:11; 13:1; Colossians 1:23; 2:7
Discipleship then is the ongoing Communal effort to “Establish” and “Strengthen” one another to live out the implications of the Gospel, so we can all become ‘Partakers’ of the Gospel, and be a witness and light to the world.
- Hebrews 10:24-25
- Galatians 2:14
- Discipleship is not necessarily a program
- 1 Timothy 3:14-15
- Ephesians 3:9-10
- Discipleship has a Vehicle; The Church, and a Trajectory; Partnership in the Gospel
- This is all part of God’s plan through Paul to insure that the Gospel of the Kingdom would continue to move forward, through the Church via the Sovereign Grace of God!
Our Process à MC and DNA Participation
What Is DNA?
First: DNA is an acronym for Discipleship – Nurture - Accountability. It is important to know that it is NOT a bible study, but obviously the bible is used and can even systematically be used as part of your meeting time. The idea is to help one another apply Gospel implications in their lives. There are many "One another's" in the NT, and the DNA groups are designed to help one another "Bear one another's burdens."
Second: DNA's are usually triads of three (Four is ok, but the ideal is 3). There are no DNA leaders, only facilitators who make sure the group meets at least 1X a month. We realize that some groups have older leader types in each group, but their job is to make sure the group is happening and facilitate questions that will help the rest in the group to speak and be honest with their issues, and then help each other be accountable to one another.
Third: DNA groups need to create vulnerability and honesty, and that starts with the "Perceived" leaders. This is not a group to hear out other people's problems and stand apart as the "Expert" We are sharing in each others lives and subsequent issues, and there is not one of us here that isn't struggling with issues, so vulnerability is imperative. It is important that this “Vulnerability” is not contrived and/or forced. This vulnerability is gained through relationship, trust and love, and there needs to be a safe trust within the group. This safe trust does not mean gossip club, or the toleration of sin. All sin needs to be confronted and directed to positive solutions for the individual and the church body.
Fourth: Helping one another with the implications of the Gospel, does not equate to moral advice; “do this and you'll get better.” There usually is no formula for success; it is simply helping one another see how their feelings, attitudes victories and failures are seen in light of the gospel. It takes questioning and as Tim Keller says looks for the "Sin beneath the sin." ie. Pornography is not the problem nor is stopping it the solution. While we can hold one another accountable in this area, there are deeper issues that need to be explored. Thus if we are struggling with frustration and even anger because we can't seem to get things done, maybe it is connected to the deeper idol/need to be "Productive" or "Successful." So we aren’t trying to fix problems with our ‘Good’ ideas. Basically, Gospelling one another means that we explore the idols that are feeding us, and the solutions we use to make ourselves feel better. Even "Good" things are idols if allow them to shape our identity and joy!
Fifth: As our foundation for exploration I am taking from Tim Chester's "You Can Change" here: The following G's are important to the gospel in our lives, since when we forget any of these, we can become unraveled, thus we need to continue to remind one another of the truths of these statements. Most of our sins and issues begin with a deeper denial of one or more of these important G's
- God is Gracious, so we don’t have to prove ourselves
- God is Glorious, so we don’t have to fear others
- God is Great, so we don’t have to be in control
- God is Good, so we don’t have to look elsewhere
Sixth, DNA's don't have to meet weekly. Most effective is bi-weekly, but at least once a month is needed, and then some regular emails, calls, and meetings to check up on one another. The goal is to create bonds of love, and that can only happen in proximity, and vulnerability. We ought to praying fro one another regularly.
Some DNA Type Questions to Ponder
- What gives you your identity?
- What causes you despair?
- What relieves your anxiety?
- What does your perfect (Fantasy) world look like?
- What do you find yourself daydreaming about?
Whose Approval am I seeking (Galatians 1:10)? It is quite easy to fall into the habit of seeking the approval of man rather than God. The fact is Peter did, and had to be lovingly rebuked by Paul, because he was no longer walking in “In step with the truth of the gospel.” (Galatians 2:14, ESV). DNA’s help us remember the truth of the gospel, and bear witness of it in our life stories. If Peter can get out of “Step” with Gospel truth, so can we, so we need one another to help us remember rightly! When we join a DNA, we are doing a couple of things:
- Becoming vulnerable and honest with one another
- Giving permission to others to speak freely into our life
- Remind each other of our new Identity in Jesus Christ
- Admonish and teach one another to obey Jesus’ commands. (Matthew 28:18-20; Colossians 3:15-17)
- Train each other to serve/love in tangible ways
To be a Disciple first and foremost is to be a learner. We all learn at different levels, but as disciples, we are all learning. Thus part of what we want to do, is learn, so there will be a part of our time where the word is opened and we will discuss the text in light of our own issues, feelings and thoughts. We are transformed by the “Renewing of our minds” (Romans 12:2), and the word of God is the main agent to help us see the truth of our lives, and how we are out of line with the gospel.
- Get to know one another’s stories, listening closely to each other and to the Holy Spirit so we can carefully and empathetically direct each other to truth. (John 16:7-15)
- Check one another’s passions: How are you doing? Who are you loving well? Not so well? Where are you living in fear? What can we celebrate with you? What are you struggling with? (Romans 12:10, 15)
- Pray with and for each other. (Romans 12:12; Ephesians 6:18; James 5:16)
To Nurture one another, there has to be a time to listen to one another and hear out the pain, feeling, and issues that we are all dealing with. So there will be a time in each DNA to listen to one another, and the problems we are facing.
- Encourage each other to live out what we believe; In step with the gospel (Galatians 2:14; Hebrews 10:24-25)
- Review since you last met and how faithful we have been in keeping our word.
- Speak the truth in love as we see areas of sin (Ephesians 4:14-16), correcting and rebuking with God’s Word when necessary. (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
To be Accountable to one another, is to not allow one another to stay in our ruts. We will listen with an empathetic ear, but truth must be upheld, and action must be clear. DNA is not for complaints without getting to the sin issues beneath our own reactions to the things that happen to us, and then root them out through repentance and reconciliation. For some, it may mean going to someone else and ask forgiveness for their feelings toward someone else, or even to forgive others for “Wrongs” done to them.
Sample DNA Format (Part of this is developed from "You Can Change")
Note: There are no set plans to do DNA, but this format gives you ideas of how we can implement all three levels of DNA in any given evening. Remember, it’s not a bible study or even just another prayer time, but it incorporates the scriptures and prayer as we listen to one another answer these types of questions. Sometime, you can meet to talk and pray. Other times you can be going through a book that helps you all understand and work through particular issues you may be having. The goal is to be in one another’s lives and be in prayer for one another, developing a love for the other, whether or not you would be hanging with this person outside of church.
Open In Prayer
Read Romans 1:24-25
- In what way do we do this?
- What do you think of the following quote?
- “Behind every sin and negative emotion is a lie” Tim Chester
- What are some ways to change that?
- Take every thought “Captive” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
- Are we doing that? Why? Why not?
- Mortifying sin (Romans 8:13)
- Replace it with Truth
- Take every thought “Captive” (2 Corinthians 10:3-5)
Read Jeremiah 2:13
- In what way(s) is this true of me? Not true of me?
- What do I need to repent of?
In what way are you hurting right now?
What are some of the obstacles you are facing?
How can we pray for you?
How are you and your wife doing? Are you having regular date nights? If you are not married, how are you doing with women/men (Both Real and Imagined)?
How are things at work going?
How has your prayer/word time been?
What has God been teaching you?
How has your time in the word caused you to rejoice/repent?
Have you had any opportunities to share Jesus with anyone? What are the obstacles to doing so?
Pray For One Another