The Benefits of Community Through Discipleship

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We were finally in the car headed to Palisade, Colorado. After nine months of going through The 2:7 Series®, it was time for all of us to get away together for a weekend of fun. We had all been going through Growing Strong in God’s Family, Margaret, my wife, was leading Susie and Deborah, while Duane and Don met with me.

Each of us had benefited greatly from Scripture memory, accountability, and learning together from God’s Word. A chunk of time away would allow us to move our personal relationships deeper as well.

Don’s two sons from a previous marriage, Andrew and James, lived in Amarillo, and they would be with us in Palisade as well. Andrew was still exploring what it might mean to place his trust in Christ. The younger son, James, had already trusted Christ. Over the previous nine months, a pattern had developed: Don would gain a new insight from the lesson, the Scripture memorized, or our time together. That evening he would pass on these life-changing messages by phone to his sons.

Applying Scripture

One time, Don grasped the meaning and application of 1 Corinthians 10:13 (bsb), a memory verse under the topic Assurance of Victory:

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, He will also provide an escape, so that you can stand up under it.

By memorizing and meditating on this key truth, Don recognized that the Scripture said “when you are tempted” (not “if you are tempted”), then God will provide a way out. Not only would remembering and believing this Scripture help him, but he couldn’t wait to share it with his teenage sons, knowing all the temptations young men face.

 Doing Life Together

Friday night the eight of us met at the hotel restaurant for a wonderful dinner, complete with spirited conversation and a whole lot of laughter. Later that night, we went back to our room (affectionately dubbed the “party room”) for a series of games. After several hours of games, stories, more laughter, and fun, Andrew grew quiet and very thoughtful. We all noticed the change in his countenance, and his dad asked, “Whatcha thinking ’bout, Andy?”

Click the book to watch/learn more about The 2:7 Series.

“I’ve never seen anything like this before!” he responded. When we pressed him for more, he explained that he’d never seen a group of adults enjoy the closeness and camaraderie the six of us were experiencing as we bantered, teased, shared favorite verses, and encouraged one another.

This gave us an opportunity to share about the benefits of Christian community and doing life together—how we could encourage one another with insights from Scripture. Knowing that there were others praying for us and who were willing to ask the tough questions of accountability encouraged us and helped us grow.

We also talked about how we were created for relationship and how much better life was when we weren’t trying to live as “Lone Ranger” Christians. We shared Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (niv):

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

We offered examples of how we’d seen those verses lived out among the three couples.

That night Andrew gained new insights into what it was like to be a Christian. It wasn’t about a set of rules, the do’s and don’ts of religion. Instead it was about relationships, first with God through His Son, Jesus Christ, and then with other believers. Our time together gave him some new things to think about on his journey toward Christ.

Not Only the Gospel

I use this tagline in my emails: “We loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well” (1 Thessalonians 2:8, niv). It sums up perfectly our commitment to disciple life-to-life. We pass on knowledge, but we don’t stop there. We live life together. In so doing, those we’re discipling can see and emulate our example and begin to learn how to apply the Scriptures amid everyday life.

Margaret Fitzwater and her husband, Roy, co-direct Navigator Church Ministries, a mission of The Navigators. For 80 years, The Navigators have helped people grow in Jesus Christ with proven tools to equip lifelong disciple makers.

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