By Jeremy Grossman
Recently, Pastor Tracey asked me to help steer Trinity’s Discipleship efforts as a member of the Governing Board. Before accepting, I had to first wrap my head around what “Discipleship” meant to me. After reading what many scholars had to say on the topic (okay, I admit it—I Googled it), I kept coming back to one idea that resonated with me: a disciple is a student, someone seeking wisdom or knowledge or skills. This pursuit, though, is not simply about acquisition—it’s about application. A disciple is actively seeking to transform his or her life.
Once I got a hold of this concept, it led me to revisit my days as a classroom teacher and my philosophy of education. Again, my inspiration is non-traditional: the animated Disney film, TARZAN. In the movie, a young Tarzan, desperate to be accepted by his adopted gorilla family, dedicates himself to becoming “the best ape ever.” Cue the montage of young Tarzan observing, growing, trying, learning by experience, and eventually applying what he learns to help his family, all to the tune of a Phil Collins song with the pivotal lyric, “…in learning you will teach, in teaching you will learn.”
This, to me, is key: discipleship is an ongoing, lifelong, two-way street process. We never stop being students. As we seek to grow ourselves, we are able to assist others, and then, in turn, be helped again ourselves. We learn, we teach, we learn some more. We don’t have to know all the answers or have ourselves all together (because who among us does?) to simply step in and BE THERE for others. In fact, often we find the best way to help ourselves is to stop and help someone else.
The idea of the IRON WORKS Discipleship Discussion group came to me as I contemplated one of the most famous verses about the importance of meaningful relationships, Proverbs 27:17, “Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens the wits of another” (NRSV). In other words, we can better ourselves through our relationships with others.
Considering the Trinity Vision Statement, we can grow in love and service through our relationships with God and Community, and I believe those two are intertwined through discipleship: we can grow with God as we seek meaningful relationships with our community, and we can grow with our community as we seek to improve our relationship with God.
The IRON WORKS Discipleship Discussion group will take place as a Sunday School class. Over six weeks, we will study and reflect on the following keystones as guides for personal and relational discipleship:
A DISCIPLE acts with:
· INTENT, living by purpose and decision, not passivity and default (Ephesians 5:15-16)
· RECOGNITION of his/her position as a servant leader, offering his/her talents and gifts to God and others (Romans 12:4-7)
· OBEDIENCE to Christ’s essential commandments (Matthew 22:37-39)
· NOBILITY, seeking to be a witness of God’s love in word and deed (Colossians 3:12-17)
· These principles culminate in WORKS, loving outreach to others as a fundamental application of faith (James 2:14-26).
The class starts September 10 at 9:15 in the Parlor Conference Room. Childcare and refreshments will be available. All are welcome.
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