A Journey of Grace: BGS unveils denominational discipleship initiative
The Board of General Superintendents announced a new denominational initiative, Nazarene Discipleship: A Journey of Grace, to provide a framework for discipleship in the Church of the Nazarene.
This initiative, which is part of the BGS’ vision to focus on the three main elements of the denominational Statement of Mission, has been in the works for the last two years even in the midst of the pandemic, which brought new challenges.
Members of the BGS worked with denominational representatives from across the globe to make this initiative a reality, and, at the 97th Session of the General Board, it was introduced to the denomination with hearts full of gratitude and hope.
“When we consider Nazarene Discipleship as A Journey of Grace, we must begin by recognizing that discipleship is a journey,” said Scott Rainey, SDMI director. “It is not a set of Bible studies that when you finish these studies, you have graduated from discipleship. Discipleship is a lifetime journey that begins at birth and continues through all of life.”
A Journey of Grace defines the discipleship process as a journey from grace to grace to grace using the three titles of Jesus from John 14:6.
- The way: Through prevenient grace, God prepares the path for us.
- The truth: Through saving grace, Jesus rescues us from sin and leads us into the truth that sets us free.
- The life: Through sanctifying grace, the Holy Spirit empowers us to live a life fully consecrated to God.
As disciples and disciple makers, Christians are then called to witness by telling and retelling the story of God’s grace in their lives and the lives of others as they walk alongside others with patience, love, and grace.
Speaking on behalf of the BGS, David Graves said the team realized early in the process of creating the Journey of Grace initiative that the church’s model of discipleship had become backward.
“For many years, we have trained people that the church evangelizes first,” Graves said. “Then, when someone repents and believes, the task of discipleship begins.”
Graves pointed to the way parents have discipled children from birth as an alternative approach.
“Rather than evangelizing first, they have discipled first,” Graves said. “This was, in fact, the model of Jesus.”
Rainey pointed to the importance of carrying out the journey of grace with others, noting its relation to the Great Commission.
“It is vital we understand that Christ not only draws us along this journey, but we are called to journey with others, joining them, helping them, along the journey from grace to grace to grace,” Rainey said. “When believers join others along the journey of grace, we carry out the Great Commission: making disciples of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey everything Jesus commanded us. Christ calls us in His Great Commission to walk with others intentionally along their life’s journey.”
The Foundry Publishing, in partnership with SDMI, has created materials to help the more than 31,000 Nazarene congregations engage this new paradigm for discipleship. Materials include a key book, small group discussion guide and videos, sermon outlines, youth discussion guide, and children’s ministry resources including a Vacation Bible School and musical. The resources are available in multiple languages, and more will continue to be added.
“We are not launching a program or curriculum,” Graves said. “Rather, we are launching a new paradigm for Nazarene Discipleship, a framework that will unite the Church of the Nazarene in its mission to make Christlike disciples in the nations.”
To view the resources in multiple languages, click here.