Chain Link

by | Oct 5, 2018

The first time I met Mike Ely, I was struck by his ability to share Gospel-centered truths in a way that was fresh, casual, relaxed and fun. While he didn’t take himself too seriously, his faith in the Gospel was strikingly powerful. Little did I know that day that he would go on to influence my walk with Christ in such an impactful way.

This past weekend, we drew our discipleship “chain link” as we continued The Makings series. We’ve been exploring our foundation, mission and vision, and last week we zoomed in on our vision to multiply disciples. Hundreds of people wrote the initials of a person who has discipled them. Mike Ely is one of the key names who has poured into me.

As we continue our walk through the vision statement – A community of disciples from every generation who creatively make disciples of Jesus – this weekend we tackle the discipleship truth that we must use our God-given creativity to disciple other people. One expression of creatively making disciples is our Discipleship Cohort program.

As part of a pilot program, nearly 100 GS attenders have engaged a 3-month discipleship experience. This flagship program has grown from a desire in my heart to answer that call of multiplying disciples within our own congregation. The apostle Paul shows us that Jesus followers are called to spiritually grow to become more like Jesus, yet he explains that people who are spiritually growing are called to more: “You then, my child [Timothy], be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Tim 2:1-2) People who are being discipled are also called and equipped by God to disciple other people. The discipleship cohort is not merely to experience spiritual growth, but it is an equipping to help people multiply disciples.

Groups somewhere between 15-25 people attended one of the six discipleship cohorts. Cohort is defined as a group of people banded together. It is our hope that in uniting people together as they grow in their knowledge and faith, they will be strengthened together in the words, works and ways of Jesus.  For the past month, these leaders have been reading the book, Gospel Fluency: Speaking the Truths of Jesus Into the Everyday Stuff of Life by Jeff Vanderstelt.

“Only a disciple can make a disciple.”― A. W. Tozer

Enter Mike Ely.  This is where it gets fun for me.

I wanted the cohorts to have the opportunity to learn from my chain link.  I wanted them to have the chance to be discipled by a few of the key people who have made distinct discipleship impressions on me as I’ve learned along the way.

Throughout the month, the Cohorts watched video Zoom calls between Mike and me where we discussed parts of the Gospel Fluency book, and this past weekend, we were able to join together in groups hosted in their homes, and Mike was able to join us in person.  There was time for fellowship, fun and getting to know each other better. But mostly, it was a time to dig deeper into God’s word and learn tools for making disciples. The energy that was ignited was pretty powerful.

“This has been a really creative way to meet other “family members” at GS and to get a real concentrated, wisdom filled lesson on the Gospel. Thank you for investing in us like this!!”  — Britt Savage

“Wow it all came together for me and so many great tools to use in our everyday life and our journey as disciples and disciplers.”  — DJ VanZanten

“This has been a really creative way to meet other “family members” at GS and to get a real concentrated, wisdom filled lesson on the Gospel. Thank you for investing in us like this!!”  — Britt Savage

“Wow it all came together for me and so many great tools to use in our everyday life and our journey as disciples and disciplers.”  — DJ VanZanten

“Really enjoyed meeting Mike. An amazing time. Mike not only gave insight into my walk with Jesus, he also showed a practical application on how to keep Jesus in the center of that walk. I have never be shown how to get my sinful self out of my vision and to be able to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus instead. It will be a slow process but at least it is moving in the right process.”  — Shelley Grandjean

Based on the feedback, God is at work. I mentioned that this is a pilot program.  We’ll see where the Lord leads it for further opportunity for more people to join in and be discipled in a similar way.  For now, this program will run through December.

Would you let us know if the discipleship cohort resonates with you? We are always looking for God’s people who desire to be invested into with the intention that they would multiply disciples by pouring into others. You can email us to let us know of your interest for future creative discipleship opportunities.

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