Consumer vs Producer Lifestyle
If we are going to make disciples who multiply, then we need to equip them to be producers and not merely consumers.
In our broken world, people have rejected God’s plan, and many spend their energy living out just part of God’s perfect equation. They learn but they don’t share. They are are filled up but they never pour out. They consume but they don’t produce.
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There are four major ways through which God grows us spiritually. The tools in this toolkit will be presented in terms of these four ways:
Every disciple needs to be equipped to learn, interpret and apply Scripture. Over thousands of years and through many different authors, God spoke His word into the hearts of faithful men who captured and shared what they heard. The Scriptures teach us God’s story, His plans, His heart, His ways. If a disciple is not a reader, then he/she needs to be equipped to do this with an oral methodology, perhaps starting with listening to an audio-version of the Bible.
The three tools mentioned in this area complement one another in helping equip disciples in a range of skills needed to be competent in interpreting and applying the Bible. If you haven't already, check them out!
Prayer is critical for our relationship with God. It is through prayer that we both listen to Him and speak to Him. Prayer enables us to know Him more intimately and to understand His heart, His will, and His ways. Prayer helps us minister to others, to teach them, and to witness to them.
The following two tools can help disciples grow in their personal prayer life and in ministering to and with others. They can help us develop a habit of living in an attitude of prayer and to constantly see the world from a spiritual perspective rather than merely the visible physical situation. They can also increase our capacity for prayer.
3. Body Life
God designed His Body so that we need each other. Each of us has particular strengths and particular weaknesses. We are to submit to one another and serve one another. The life of a disciple does not only involve one’s relationship with God, but also one’s relationships with others.
Discipleship is not merely individual but also corporate in nature. The tools listed below help us spur one another on to love and good works in an environment of loving dual accountability to obey and share with others what God tells us.
4. Persecution and Suffering
God uses persecution and suffering for our good in many ways. He uses it to refine our character and develop godly traits in us. He uses it to strengthen and purify our faith. He uses it to equip us for ministry to others who are suffering. He also uses it to glorify Himself through our willingness to sacrifice and risk for His sake. God promises that if we are seeking to live fully for Him in this world, we will be persecuted.
If disciples are taught to expect persecution and suffering for the sake of the Kingdom, then they are far less likely to be confused, bitter, angry, resentful, discouraged, or depressed when they face it. We need to prepare disciples from the beginning of their new life to expect suffering and to respond well to it, trusting God as a faithful Creator in doing what is right. Suffering for the Kingdom is preparing us and refining us for our eternal reign with Christ in eternity.
- Of the four areas detailed above (prayer, God's Word, etc.), which ones do you already practice?
- Which ones do you feel unsure about?
- How ready do you feel when it comes to training others?