What is Life-on-Life Missional Discipleship?

 

Life-on-life Missional Discipleship is a gospel transformation process which involves a mature and equipped follower of Christ (a Discipleship Team Leader) intentionally and relationally investing in others in the context of small groups of 4-6 people (a Discipleship Team). Randy Pope, Directional Leader & Lead Teacher of Perimeter Church, describes the dynamics of life on life discipleship as

 

  • having a life product
  • being intentional about imparting that product to others
  • spending enough time doing the right things to impart that product so that the recipient will learn to impart it as well.

 

Watch a video of Randy Pope sharing how he defines the process of and benefits for Life on life Missional Discipleship.
 

The life product that is valued in life on life discipleship is becoming a mature and equipped follower of Christ for the lost world. What exactly that means will be explained later. For now, just understand that one who is leading a Discipleship Team is making a commitment to his or her group. That commitment is to invest his or her life in yours, spending time with you, working a specific plan that has your spiritual growth in mind. The end goal is that you will learn how, and be motivated, to impart your life product as well. The context in which this happens is regular, once a week meetings with your Discipleship Team. These meetings have a relaxed, come-as-you-are atmosphere. Your Discipleship Team Leader acts as a coach, guiding the team in creating a supportive, confidential environment that fosters camaraderie and openness. Team members encourage one another as they share honestly about the challenges they face, and support one another through hard times as they grow spiritually.

 

 

What Life on Life Discipleship Isn't

It's important to clarify what life on life discipleship is not because there are so many different approaches to spiritual growth that are sometimes labeled discipleship, but really miss the mark.

 

  • Life on life discipleship is not curriculum-on-life. We believe that discipleship happens because of relationships, not because of books or materials.  There is something organic that takes place in discipleship groups that are healthy even as one works through engineered (i.e., curriculum) content. Although there is a learning component to discipleship, the focus is on living and sharing truth, not merely learning it. Thus, The Journey is designed to support a life on life process of growth, not a curriculum-on-life process.
  • Life on life discipleship is not merely a person's Church activities and experience. Although, a disciple will certainly be active in Church.
  • Life on life discipleship is not just about serving. However, a disciple will certainly develop the heart and skills of a servant and put them in action.
  • Life on life discipleship is not only about mission. Yet, a disciple will develop and pursue a specific life purpose, vision, and mission.

 

 

What is a Disciple?

Simply put, a disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ. S/he is growing to trust Christ more, and more while learning to do and say what He said and did. As a member of a Discipleship Team s/he will covenant together with the other team members to meet weekly for the purpose of growing toward spiritual maturity as a follower of Christ.

 

 

What is Spiritual Maturity?

Spiritual maturity is the life product that life on life discipleship aims to impart. But, what is it? Again, it's important to clarify what it isn't because there are so many definitions that fall short.

 

  • Spiritual maturity is not just having a lot of Bible knowledge. Although understanding the Bible is a significant factor that drives spiritual growth, simple head knowledge is not sufficient in itself. There is a difference between knowing and doing God's word. Therefore, life on life discipleship is focused on applying God's truth, not merely understanding it.
  • Spiritual maturity is not merely having high commitment. Commitment is an integral attribute of a spiritually mature life, but commitment in itself doesn't equate to the ability pass on a spiritual life product to someone else.

 

 

So what is spiritual maturity? It involves having both the spiritual life and spiritual skills of a disciple; what we call being a mature and equipped follower of Christ. We define a mature and equipped follower of Christ as a person who

 

  • Lives consistently under the control of the Holy Spirit, the direction of the Word of God, and the motivation of the love of Christ
  • Has discovered, developed, and is using their spiritual gift(s)
  • Has learned to effectively share their faith while demonstrating Christ's amazing love
  • Gives strong evidence of being

- A faithful member of God's church

- An effective manager of life, relationships, and resources

- A willing minister to others, especially "the least and lost", and

- An available messenger to non-kingdom people.

  • Demonstrates a life striving to be

- Gospel driven
- Worship focused
- Morally pure
- Evangelistically bold
- Discipleship grounded
- Family faithful, and
- Socially responsible

 

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