What is new for you in 2023?
For me, it is a transition to a new position, from a local church pastor to a discipleship director. It is an exciting opportunity to support the discipleship movement in Singapore Adventist churches. Our discipleship vision was launched three years ago in 2019, and during that time, we experienced disruption because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As I look forward to this new role, I was asked this question: what would I like to keep, improve, stop, and start in our discipleship movement?
Keep the biblical understanding of our Discipleship Pathway. I am convinced that discipleship is a lifelong journey. It is a direction rather than a destination. As God makes us into His disciples, we learn about Him and grow in love for Him. God then matures us from spiritual infants to spiritual adults, receivers to givers. The divine commission, however, does not want us to stop here. God will multiply us, and if we are willing, we will be co-workers with Jesus to share with others the sweet fruit of the journey and experience we had with Him.
Improve our understanding and equipping in the Multiply phase of the Discipleship Pathway. Many Discipleship groups (D-groups) faced obstacles in the past three years. The most challenging step is from Mature (being in a D-Group) to Multiply (reaching out for Jesus). For many, it seems too steep. After gathering feedback from many of the disciplers, we broke down that one steep step into smaller, more manageable ones. As a result, multiplying becomes a series of achievable steps, and more can experience the joy of leading someone to Jesus. Many disciples also felt ill-equipped, contributing to their hesitancy to move forward to multiply. So, we will provide more practical equipping sessions for those wanting to experience the multiplication phase.
Stop trying to do everything. A woodpecker can be very busy tapping twenty times on a thousand trees and still get nowhere. Or it can tap one tree twenty-thousand times and get dinner. Our churches in Singapore are not huge, yet we have many ministries and activities. This keeps many of our disciples busy with preparation, logistics, and running of programs. However, are we called to make disciples or to be busy? We need to re-focus on the primary mission given to us - to make disciples.
Start normalising and creating the culture of multiplying. To achieve the above, we need to normalise multiplying. It is not a work reserved for the pastors. Their job is to teach and equip the disciples. Neither is it work just for the "spiritual elite forces" of elders, deacons, and other very committed members. This is a work for every single person who calls themselves a follower of Jesus. We need to start building a culture of disciple-making, which is a culture from the Bible that God ordained.
What about you and your discipleship journey? Is there anything you want to keep, improve, start, or stop? Tell us in the comments.