Discipleship is arguably the main purpose of the Church, to grow disciples and make new ones (sounds a bit like ‘reproducing the life of Jesus’?). Yet most Churches would confess to a rather lukewarm discipleship in reality in the culture and practice of their Church.
September 24th Apprentice. Our new preaching series on discipleship uses a less religious word ‘Apprentice’ to remind us that discipleship is not just a cerebral or intellectual thing. Rather it is immensely practical, no less than an imitation of Jesus Himself! Mark’s gospel will be our text, but I hope there will be plenty of homework. Mark 1 v14-20. Download discussion notes.
Oct 1st Apprentice: Warfare. To be an apprentice is to imitate and be taught by the master. Jesus was a master at Spiritual Warfare! In fact Mark’s gospel from beginning to end is marked by signs of Kingdom conflict and Jesus’s followers are inevitably recruited into that warfare. It can seem crude, scary or anachronistic to think of demons and deliverance ministry, but if it is a hallmark of the ministry of Jesus, should it not be at least as much of a hallmark for His followers as praying for the sick? Mark 1:23-28; Mark 6:7 Download discussion notes.
Oct 8th Apprentice: Healing. Discipleship is arguably the main purpose of the Church, to grow disciples and make new ones (sounds a bit like ‘reproducing the life of Jesus’?). Start off with feedback from Sunday's message. What did those that were there - or those that have caught up online - take away from it? What encouraged them, what informed them and what challenged them? Spend some time discussing the response to the message and the issues that it raised. Mark 1:29-34 and 2:1-12 Download discussion notes.
15th Oct. Apprentice: Discipling. The ministry of Jesus on earth and the ministry of the Church that He left behind could be summed up as a ‘disciple making’ ministry. With all the other claims on his time and energy Jesus made a priority of equipping the 12 men he had called as disciples, in order that they could carry in his ministry, including of course ‘making disciples’. Mathew’s gospel which finishes with the great commission to his followers to ‘make disciples’ of all nations makes explicit this priority. Mark 6 charts an early stage in the disciple making process. Download discussion notes.
Oct 22nd. Apprentice: Serving
Jesus teaching on ‘greatness’ in the Kingdom of God reflects the ‘upside down kingdom’ nature of his teaching. It is not easy to stay in the mindset of servanthood being a mark of true greatness when the secular culture we live in sees greatness in very different ways. That’s perhaps why we’ve taken a word that means servant (minister) and in religious use turned it into a high status word resonant with power and authority. Mark 9:33-41. Download discussion notes
29th Oct. God habits: Prayer. Prayer is a defining habit of a follower of Jesus. Disciples say ‘teach us to pray’. John has a confidence in prayer that God hears us. Does this sort of confidence in God inspire more prayer which gives rise to more confidence?
What is the difference (if any) between God hearing our prayer and God answering our prayer? (v 14)? What is the link between asking for things that are the will of God and receiving what we ask for? How does this shape our prayer methodology? How do you think John learnt lessons in prayer over a long lifetime which included his fellow disciples being martyred and his own exile? 1 John 5: 14 & 15. Download discussion notes.
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