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Discipleship 101: Gather, Grow & Go

Reflecting on Our Vision:
Gather – To be and build authentic Christian

community, which is in the habit of regularly
and intentionally exercising a radical
hospitality.

Grow – To be and build authentic Christ
following disciples, who regularly and
intentionally exercise a radical discipline and
obedience.

Go – To be and build the kingdom of God in
the world, regularly and intentionally acting
in the world for the sake of the world.

A vision statement, such as the one above which we
have adopted for ourselves as Webster CRC, seeks
to capture a picture of a preferred future—who we
want to be and what we want to build. Three key
words jump out at me from this statement:

• Community – We are challenging ourselves to
increasingly become a family that gets into each
other’s lives, supporting, encouraging, and
celebrating with each other. [Gather]

• Disciples – We are challenging ourselves as
individuals to grow in our relationship with our
rabbi Jesus, not only learning what Jesus teaches us
but also growing to be like him in how we live and
think, in our actions and our attitudes. [Grow]

• Kingdom – We are also reminding ourselves
that we are not doing this in a vacuum, but we are a
community of disciples acting as part of God’s
kingdom in and for the good of our families,
communities, and world. [Go]

How are we doing in seeking to make this vision a
reality? Soon after I moved here I was asked to
write a note to be sent to visitors. In order to
describe WCRC, a church family that I am still just
getting to know myself, I turned to this vision
statement for help.

This is how I described us:

We are a group of people who have found
each other because of our common
relationship with Jesus. We worship together,
learn from him through our study of the
Bible, and strive to grow to be like him as we
make our way in this world. As we grow into
a family and allow Jesus to guide the way we
live, we expect to make a positive impact on
our families, community and world.

Did I accurately describe us, or at least who we
aspire to be? Visions are always lofty statements,
and often hard to live up to. Notice that I was
careful in my language not to claim that we had
arrived, but only that we are still in the process of
growing into a family, growing into disciples of
Jesus, and growing in our impact on the world.

How will we know when we’ve gotten there? We’ll
never fully arrive before Jesus returns, but we did
set up some measurements to see how far we’ve
come and if we are moving in the right direction:

1. Empowering Leadership
2. Gift-oriented Ministry
3. Passionate Spirituality
4. Functional Structures
5. Inspiring Worship Services
6. Holistic Small Groups
7. Need-oriented Evangelism
8. Loving Relationships
Are we heading in the right direction?

From over 20 years of pastoral experience, I know
these are dangerous questions to ask. Our first
inclination is to find where we fall short and seek
someone to blame. But look at the vision statement
again. This is our collective hope and challenge for
who we want to be and what we want to build. And
it is our collective responsibility to grow into a
community of disciples working for God’s
kingdom in this world.

So what can I do as an individual to contribute to
the vision of the whole? Make sure I’m working on
my own discipleship. Over the next months in this
column, I want to explore with you what that means
and give you some tools for growing as a disciple
of Jesus.

Pastor
Ed