The following post was written by Andrew Jacobson in 2014 as part of a discipleship blog series. We are revisiting these topics in our current sermon series and publishing his writings here with his permission.
Discipleship is not an end in itself. There is something beyond discipleship that we are trying to move people towards. We are trying to move people to be missional. We mature believers so we can mobilize them for God’s mission to spread His Gospel. This is why the eighth component of our Discipleship Vision is Missional-Living. In this area of discipleship we want everyone at First Free to be engaged in actively serving and reaching out outside the walls of the church to demonstrate the love of Christ and to be actively engaging unbelievers to declare the Gospel of Christ.
This area of discipleship has two parts to it: demonstration and declaration of the Gospel. As Christians, one of our desires for pursuing Christlikeness should be the desire to show the world the transforming power of the Gospel. We must be careful to distinguish the fact that our changed lives do not give the Gospel its power; rather the power of the Gospel changes our lives. And when the powerful Gospel changes our lives we should let that change be on display so unbelievers can get a picture of what Christ does in us. This display and demonstration will come as we reach out outside the Church and into the community.
Additionally, and most importantly, being missional requires Gospel declaration. Demonstration is important and helpful but it must be accompanied by declaration. This declaration of the Gospel from First Free should extend to our neighbors and the nations. Yes, we are a ‘local’ church but we are a local church that wants to have a global impact. This is why in addition to wanting to mobilize people to reach out locally we also send and support global outreach partners. The Gospel is for people from every tribe, tongue, language, and nation. If we miss this area of discipleship, we will likely become an ingrown, self-focused church, which is so contrary to the Gospel we believe. This is why we need to constantly emphasize the mission of God and the unbelieving world’s need of the Gospel when we do whatever we do. The news is too precious and the need locally and globally is too great to consider missional-living to be optional.