Discipleship is a Team Activity

On January 18, 2013 by Steve Miller

team“Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor. For if they fall, one will lift up his companion. But woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up.” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

From the beginning of time, God made it clear that it is not good for His people to be alone (Gen. 2:18). God designed us to cooperate in each other’s spiritual development. Throughout the Scriptures, God speaks of His people as a community that accomplishes more together than separately. God did not create us as isolated individuals, each seeking to achieve their own goals; rather, the success of our endeavors depends upon our interdependence (not independence) focused around a common set of goals. This is why God established the Church and released His Holy Spirit to empower the community of believers to spread the gospel. We are to be a kingdom of priests (I Peter 2:9) on mission together.

This idea of God building a kingdom is central to the entire Bible.  It is one of the mega themes which unites all we believe and do.  Before God began creation He already ruled, in creation He extended His Kingdom to us humans, made in His image.  Through sin we marred His perfect creation and separated ourselves from His perfect rule.  We broke the perfect original design of our relationship to God.  Much of the historical account of the Bible is the story of a sinful deceived people running from God and His loving pursuit of the lost.  The culmination of God’s rescue plan is witnessed in the redemptive work of Jesus Christ, who died to pay the price of our sin; this fulfilled God’s Holy requirement for a payment of death for sin.  Christ’s resurrection makes it possible for us to be truly redeemed.  We are now twice born citizens of God’s kingdom; first we are God’s by design and secondly by the new birth purchased by Jesus’ work.  The Church exists on earth as a present and real example of God’s Kingdom and rule.  We must always remember God saves individuals, but his intent is they become part of His collected kingdom.

John 17:21 records Jesus’ prayer for unity for His followers shortly before He was to be lead to the cross, “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one–as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.”

The first reason we unite to other believers is out of obedience to Christ, but there are also pragmatic reasons for doing discipleship together.  During difficult times it is critical that we are walking in fellowship with other Christians. When a crisis hits, it is overwhelming to face it alone. But if we have cultivated supportive friendships, we will find strength in the comfort and encouragement of those who care about us. Interdependence is also a safeguard for us when we are lured by temptation. The consistent testimony of those who have fallen to temptation is that they isolated themselves from other believers and were not held accountable by Christian friends.

If you are not a part of a caring community of believers, you are missing out on what God designed you for.

2 Responses to “Discipleship is a Team Activity”

  • It takes a village…
    Even if Hillary Clinton did not intend to reference the Bible in her now famous quote, the resounding message is as clear as it is stated in the Bible:
    As 1 Corintians 12:7-11 says:
    “Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”
    I find it awesome when people use their God-given gifts to enrich the lives of others.
    Thanks Steve for your eloquent take on this subject!

  • Yes, excellent and TRUE post. This makes me think of Matthew 18:20…

    “…For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

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