Balance is a major aspect of Simple Discipleship as the process encourages discipleship development in four primary domains within every ministry…Know Christ, Grow in Christ, Serve Christ, and Share Christ. These four domains are not static but there is movement within and from one to another, thus the missional movements of the gospel of Jesus. The Christian life is also not static but is dynamic and moving in spiritual and literal ways that require us to apply our faith in all kinds of situations. Each domain also represents one of the missional movements of the Lord as related to his ultimate purpose. The missional movements corresponding to the Simple Discipleship primary domains are: The Gospel is Attractional, Relational, Incarnational, and Missional. While preaching and teaching through each of the four missional movements, another one was discovered but it is more of an ultimate reward for Christians rather than another ministry domain—the gospel is…Extractional. The complete visual may be illustrated in the adapted Simple Discipleship logo to the left. This article will introduce the five missional movements of the gospel.
THE GOSPEL IS ATTRACTIONAL
In the Simple Discipleship process “Worship- Grow in Christ” is the beginning point as people connect to God through a relationship with Christ and is represented by the red part of the logo. The connection does not happen by accident, coincidence, or ritual religion. Instead, it occurs by God drawing people and inviting them to have a relationship with him. Included in this spiritually magnetic action of God are the prayers of Christians and their sharing of the gospel with those being drawn to the Lord. Put simply, the gospel is attractional.
Romans 2:4 …the goodness of God leads you to repentance.
THE GOSPEL IS RELATIONAL
Sunday school and small group Bible study is essential to the Simple Discipleship process. It is within the small groups that we learn how to love one another as it is not something that automatically occurs when one receives Christ. One’s values are often patterned after a life of dysfunction with family and friends who may or may not know Christ. It is true that salvation changes one’s values and worldview to a point resulting from spiritual transformation but some dysfunctional values often remain. It is within the small group Bible study experience that relationships are formed and much discipleship can take place. Thus, the gospel is relational. In the Simple Discipleship process “Word- Grow in Christ” is represented by the blue area of the logo. Matthew 5:1-2 captures the relational principle as Jesus sat down to teach, his disciples “came to him,” a phrase that is repeated several times in the Gospels. From Matthew to Acts we see the incredible growth of several of the disciples as they developed relationships with Christ and one another.
Loving one another God’s way is relational.
THE GOSPEL IS INCARNATIONAL
Relational living and love grows to a point where people willingly and sacrificially serve one another. In the Simple Discipleship process “Ministry- Serve Christ” is represented by the yellow area of the logo. If a Christian fails to serve other Christians within the body of Christ something is wrong with their understanding of a relationship with Christ. There are many “deep” Christians attending worship and Bible study but do not serve the body of Christ in any way—a fundamental flaw in their discipleship. Like a diamond with its pavilion cut too deep, the light of Christ is simply absorbed and not reflected. It is within the small group setting that we begin to learn the meaning of the incarnation as we become agents of love and healing among our fellow Christians. Incarnational living begins within the small groups. 1 Thessalonians 2:4-12 captures the essence of incarnational living as we love one another and others. An example of this might be the new mother of a child needing help to prepare her own meals for a week after her return home as her Bible study group lovingly fills that need. That is incarnational—being like Christ to her.
Serving others selflessly is being Christ to them- Incarnational.
THE GOSPEL IS MISSIONAL
This next missional movement of the gospel truly captures the meaning of God’s purpose and mission. The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 is the mission statement for all Christians as we share Christ with all people. In the Simple Discipleship process “Missions- Share Christ” is represented by the green part of the logo. The question for every Christian is, “Who will be in heaven because of you?” It is the prime directive of all Christians to “interfere” with the spiritual blindness and comfort of people of the world who do not know Christ. The gospel is missional!
“Who will be in heaven because of you?”
THE GOSPEL IS EXTRACTIONAL
Unlike several religions of the world, Christianity does not view life as it is in this world as a never-ending cycle of suffering and pain. Rather, humanity began in God’s garden in Genesis and will ultimately live in God’s garden forever as told in Revelation. We do not go through cycles of reincarnation up and down the food chain based on our goodness. Rather, we are saved by faith through the grace of God through Jesus Christ. Since we are only ambassadors on this terrestrial earth, we are actually citizens of a greater Kingdom of God. Revelation and other Scriptures such as 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18 remind us that all genuine disciples of God shall be extracted from this troubled world. The gospel is extractional!
The Gospel is Extractional–are you ready to go?
- How is worship “attractional” to you and others you know?
- Describe how your small group Bible study is “relational.”
- How is serving with your spiritual gifts “incarnational?”
- Are you a “missional” Christian? Is there any other kind?
- Do you agree that the gospel is “extractional?”
Dr. Tom Cocklereece is CEO of RENOVA Coaching and Consulting, LLC. He is a pastor, author, professional coach, leadership specialist, and is a member Coach/Teacher/Speaker for the John Maxwell Team
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