I meet regularly with individuals and small groups for the purpose of making disciples. My picture of discipleship used to be flinging mud against a wall. I dumped as much information as possible on people and crossed my fingers, hoping that the Holy Spirit was shaping them (and me). I am thankful that the Spirit did work in spite of my ill-conceived efforts, but I became curious if there was a better way.
While reading Michael Horton’s book, Core Christianity: Finding Yourself in God’s Story, I came across this insight, “We study things we care about” (15). If that’s true about our hobbies and work, it’s even more true about our faith and how we make disciples. Discipleship is about what we love. One practice that helps me grow as a Jesus loving disciple is reading the Bible with the four Ds in mind – drama, doctrine, doxology, and discipleship. These four Ds are knit together by Jesus Christ. Every drama points to him; doctrine is about him; doxology ends in praising him; and discipleship happens as a response to him.
As we dwell in the Word, the Word dwells in us, Dwelling in the story of Jesus shapes and forms us as his followers. Horton, in his book describes it this way: “Jesus is not swept into your story. You are swept into his” (150). Getting swept into the story deepens our understanding of the reason for our hope as Christians.
Drama refers to the unfolding story of God from Genesis to Revelation. Drama yields doctrine, the truths of the Christian faith. Doctrine, rooted in the drama, creates thankful hearts of praise – doxology – which is our worshipful response to who God is and what God has done. Doxology yields the fruit of love and good works which is discipleship that turns outside of ourselves, looking up to God in faith and out to our neighbors in love. When disciples know the story and its meaning, they will respond appropriately to the God who acts. And, they will be increasingly conformed to the central character as they serve others. To know what we believe and why we believe it lies at the heart of making disciples.
Pastor of Teaching and Leadership