Even though culture sets you and I up to live life alone and independent, there is a deep desire and need in every human to live life with purpose in community carrying each other’s burdens. This is a God-given desire. There are great Christian small groups everywhere. But what if there were communities living life intentionally with one another, spurring each other on to follow Jesus and inviting peers “right where each one lives, works and plays” to follow Jesus with them? This is why we have launched four Intentional Discipleship Communities (IDCs) all over the Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex so far. If you are not in an official IDC we have launched, think through this blog with your existing Gospel mobilizing friendships in mind. Here are five inspiring components of Jesus’ IDC:
1. Invite peers into a vision “right where they are.” I don’t know your experience, but in my 20 years in ministry when I see “inviting” people into spiritual growth, the common invitation is inviting someone to a service, a Bible study or in other words, a time and a place, an event. I love how Jesus invites us into something grander, He invites us into a vision: “Jesus said… ‘Do not be afraid; from now on you will be catching men.’ And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him (Luke 5:10-11).” Like these fishermen, people drop everything to follow an inspiring vision. I do!
2. Model how to follow. In my twenty years of ministry, I’ve been around teaching so much that I’ve experienced information overload. In the late nineties I pursued being in a spiritual internship in St. Louis. The whole basis of the internship was being fed the Word by the incredible mentors. But they went beyond mentoring and teaching The Word, they actually showed us how to have a quiet time. Then they took us out to serve others and to share the Good News of Jesus. They modeled a life following Jesus and then we did the same. Ever since then, I’ve been doing this with others and then they do the same! The disciples were with Jesus when He ministered to people: “And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. And those who were troubled with unclean spirits were cured. And all the crowd sought to touch him, for power came out from him and healed them all (Luke 6:17-19).” A key that distinguishes an Intentional Discipleship Community is modeling how to follow Jesus, like having a quiet time with someone, taking a friend out to share the Gospel with someone who is lost, etc…
3. Collaborate with friends in the Great Commission. Collaboration is common in an Intentional Discipleship Community (IDC). But the common mentality in today’s culture is “If you have to get something done, you got to do it yourself.” But check out what is common in the Kingdom of God: “Soon afterward he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s household manager, and Susanna, and many others, who provided for them out of their means (Luke 8:1-3).” I love how Jesus let all these be with Him in proclaiming the Good News! I’ve been among friends at the same table sharing how they are called to do the same for Jesus, yet it never came up that they could do this together. An IDC collaborates!