A few weeks ago Tory Mayo from The Well Austin encouraged us to think of discipleship as “intentional friendship.” I have this kind of relationship with my friend William. Together, we seek to grow in our relationship with each other and with Christ. We can be intentional in our relationships at work, at home, in church, and where we live. But intentional to what end? To know, love, enjoy, and glorify Jesus.
City Life helps us live out Jesus’s call to make disciples through discipleship groups (previously called fight clubs). Discipleship groups are small groups of 2-3 men or women who meet together regularly to repent of sin, rejoice in Christ, and reproduce disciples. These groups help us slow down to focus on enjoying Christ and help us reflect him in everyday life.
When we engage in these communities of friendship three things happen: we repent of sin, rejoice in Christ, and reproduce disciples.
Repent of Sin
What do these groups do when we get together? We meditate on Scripture to be formed into the image of Christ by following a Text-Theology-Life rhythm. We begin by asking what is God saying to us through the text of Scripture. What does he have to say? But we don’t just read Scripture, we let Scripture read us. We hold our lives up to the straight edge of the Word to reveal where we are out of line which leads us to repent. We pray for each other, we check in on each other, and encourage one another to flee from sin and run toward Christ.
Rejoice in Christ
As we read Scripture together we see the beauty and glory of our Redeemer and King which leads us to rejoice in Christ. We remind each other that, in Christ, forgiveness is deep and new creation is real. We need encouragement to enjoy the presence of Christ, to live into our new creation identity, not our old humanity. We help one another to find something of Christ in the text and rejoice in him. As we rejoice, we’d be fools to keep it to ourselves. We also reproduce.
Christ has called us to make disciples of all nations, so we reproduce disciples. We don’t keep our joy to ourselves. There are countless people to reach. Discipleship groups help us live out our new creation selves and bring joy to the city by repenting of sin, rejoicing in Christ, and reproducing disciples. We challenge and encourage one another to move outward to bring gospel hope into our workplaces, neighborhoods, and church, making disciples and more discipleship groups.
How do we keep up a life of discipleship? Paul counsels his disciple, Timothy: “You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus (2 Tim 2:1-3).”
Paul tells Timothy to repent of sin as a good soldier of Christ Jesus, renouncing other passions that ask for his loyalty and to instead turn toward Christ. He encourages him to rejoice in Christ by being strengthened by the grace that is in Jesus. And Paul instructs his disciple to reproduce other disciples by entrusting what he has learned to faithful men who will teach others also. Discipleship is a process for which we gain strength and grace from Jesus!
God has given us the church, a community of people who have been made pure to go after holiness together. That’s why our discipleship groups have been called fight clubs. We fight for faith and holiness together actively.
In my discipleship group with William, a new believer, we started by studying Scripture together so he could learn how. As we studied we asked questions about what God was saying about himself and of us in the text. We held these truths up to our own lives to see where we need to repent of our sinful beliefs and actions and turn toward Christ in whom we are better able to rejoice as we behold his glory in the Bible. But this doesn’t just stay between us, we are turned outward to share these truths, revelations, and joy with others, reproducing disciples as we encourage one another in sharing our faith and to start new and more discipleship groups.
If you aren’t in a discipleship group, we encourage you to get in one. Talk to others in your city group to get one going. If your discipleship group is struggling, reach out and get things moving.
Repent of sin, rejoice in Christ, and reproduce disciples!