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Equipping the Saints Introduction & Spiritual Formation
Discipleship Class FBC Alexandria
Joel W. Harder
Establish a working definition of Spiritual Formation Introduce the Relational Model of Discipleship Consider Biblical examples of this approach Introduce ETS material by David Dawson
all attempts, means, instruction, and disciplines intended towards deepening of faith and furtherance of spiritual growth. It includes educational endeavors as well as the more intimate and in-depth process ofspiritual direction
Gerald May, Psychiatrist
Spiritual Formation cont
Catch-all term that does very little to communicate any specific meaning
Need to narrow terms Christian Faith
Most statistical measures and anecdotal portraits of Evangelical Christians, not to mention Christians in general, show a remarkable similarity in the life-texture of Christians and non-Christians
The Gospel & Spiritual Formation
Essence of the Gospel For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the
power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16)
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind (Romans 12:2)
until Christ be formed in you. (Galatians 4:19)
Process of Change
Who is the one changing? Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Divine quality Typically to comfort Most helpful in contrasting ourselves to God Especially noticeable in the emerging adulthood
Proactive Process of Change
An optimal starting point is in accepting that we are going to change over the years.
This change can be a passive process that will happen regardless of any interest or activity on the part of the individual, or it can be an arguably far more valuable transformation where one proactively grows in mind, body and spirit into greater Christ likeness.
Read the Willard Quote (p. 4)
First Movement: Identifying certain activities as spiritual work or exercise.
Actively training people for ministry Andhe gave theapostles, the prophets,
theevangelists, theshepherds and teachers,to equip the saints for the work of ministry, forbuilding upthe body of Christ. (Eph 4:11-12)
Fan into flame the gift of God in you (2 Tim 1:6)
First Movement cont
The Training of the Twelve, A. B. Bruce Believers Attendants Disciples: Chosen by the Master and trained
for the specific task of apostleship
Desired outcome: Finding a passion and purpose for life
Shaping of the inner life, or the spiritual life the spiritual side of the human being. Spiritual Disciplines Spiritual Practices
Shaping of ones life by spiritual things. Not all spiritual formation is Christian
For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. (Eph 6:12)
Proactive formation focused on the spiritual things God has given His church: His Word & His Spirit
With this framework in place, spiritual formation among evangelical Christian might be defined as a proactive process of multi-dimensional transformation (mind, body, and soul) where one matures into Christ likeness, displaying a continuous yielding of the fruit of the spirit, and helping others to do the same (Harder & Stoneking, 2013).
With this definition, spiritual formation in Christ is accomplished as the Christian makes their highest intent to live in the commandments of Christ.
Willard adds they accordingly make realistic plans to realize this intent by an adequate course of spiritual disciplines (Willard, 2006).
Why: Relational Discipleship
The Church is constantly endeavoring to see authentic faith and spiritual formation take hold in the next generation.
It is often said that the church is one generation away from becoming extinct.
Though reasons exist to be hopeful about the next generation, it is undeniable that certain uneasiness exists in the church today about its effectiveness in retaining the millennial generation (Dickerson, 2013).
What: Relational Discipleship
Accomplishing the goals and objectives of spiritual formation in is an impossible task if one has to do it alone. But as Willard notes, no onehasto. God gives us others to share the pilgrimage, and we will be met by Christ in every step of the way.
Faith is a relational enterprise, triadic or covenantal in shape (Fowler, 1978).
Jesus taught that faith means to follow Discipleship isnt a program or an event; its a way of life. Its not for a limited time, but for our whole lifeSimply, discipleship means learning from and following a teacher (Hull, 2006).
So we begin to see discipleship is an intrinsically relational, lifelong process that requires learning in the life of the one being discipled. Discipleship does not just mean an increase in knowledge.
Defining Discipleship cont
Christianity is not a school for teaching moral virtues, the polishing of our manners[it] implies an entire change of life, a dedication of ourselves, our souls, our bodies unto God in the strictest and highest sense of the words. - William Law
Discipleship results in a life that is dramatically transformed in body, mind, and soul.
Isnt this just a mentor?
Yes and no Mentorship Coaching Spiritual guidance Accountability
What is needed in a Discipler
Three things: Sees Jesus Points you to Jesus Sees Jesus in You
In Christian discipleship, and more specifically in the context of a local church, there exists a God-ordained method ofrelational discipleship.
Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ. - 1 Corinthians 11:1
Joseph of Cyprus
26Andwhen he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple.27ButBarnabas took him andbrought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, andhow at Damascus he hadpreached boldly in the name of Jesus.
Son of Encouragement
36And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, Let us return and visitthe brothersin every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.37Now Barnabas wanted to take with themJohn called Mark.38But Paul thought best not to take with them onewho had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work.39And there arosea sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other.Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus,40but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended bythe brothers tothe grace of the Lord.41And he went through Syria and Cilicia,strengthening the churches.
The Church is Uniquely Equipped
Not aesthetics but, rather Faithful father of two, Christian bank
manager, local college professor, nurse practitioner, high school English teacher, software engineer, or social worker all sitting in the pews
Equipping the Saints
David Dawson, Founder of Equipping The Saints, has been involved in discipleship and training for nearly forty years. He has taught Equipping The Saints at Denver Conservative Baptist Seminary, Dallas Bible College, and at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. For twelve years he conducted a year-long internship on training laymen to do the work of ministry for the Field Education Department of Dallas Theological Seminary. Dave was the National Director for The Navigators for twelve years in Singapore. It was there that Equipping The Saints was developed to equip lay people. He travels extensively throughout America, Asia, Europe, the Eastern Block and Africa in cooperation with mission agencies and other groups to develop Equipping The Saints and discipleship training in national and international churches and denominations.