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What is the Way of Jesus?
The Way of Jesus is a pathway to follow as you journey with Jesus. There are markers. The Seven Sayings are those markers. Over time those who follow The Way of Jesus pathway are experiencing joy and fulfillment in their journey with Jesus.
The Way of Jesus is a platform (a matrix) that provides guidance for the life of a follower of Jesus. A follower of Jesus is a disciple (a student, an apprentice) of Jesus. The Way of Jesus platform also provides the guidance you need to disciple someone else.
This is about being a joyful, difference-making follower of Jesus in the World.
The Way of Jesus is not the only approach but there are some very carefully considered elements that are proving very helpful to those who take the time and make the investment to embrace the Way of Jesus pathway.
The Way of Jesus: Seven Markers
Here is a simple language to describe what following Jesus looks like.
These seven markers characterize a follower of Jesus whether they are just starting out or have been on that journey for a lifetime. None of them stand alone; each are interdependent on the others as the strands of a rope combine to form one strong cord.
|HIS LIFE||I have begun following Jesus, and am depending on the Spirit of Jesus in my journey.|
|HIS MISSION||I am being sent by Jesus to bless others and invite them to follow Him.|
|HIS CHARACTER||I am becoming like Jesus in my attitudes, behaviours, and character.|
|HIS LOVE||I am learning to love God and love others.|
|HIS TEACHINGS||I am learning the teachings of Jesus.|
|HIS DISCIPLERS||I am helping someone and someone is helping me to be a reproducing follower of Jesus.|
|HIS COMMUNITY||I am participating in a community of followers of Jesus on mission to the world.|
Big Churches and Little Churches
Big mega-churches are very popular these days. They reach many people with the gospel. They are exciting. The music is professional quality – like a concert – and when thousands of believers are singing together, it can be like a little taste of heaven. Big churches can offer high quality programs of all sorts to meet every spiritual need. Except perhaps – the need to be needed.
Statistics say that in these churches, 20% of the people do 80 % of the work, which is very comfortable if one prefers anonymity and consumerism. In a small church, it is very different. Everyone’s gifts and talents are desperately needed. The minimal staff can’t possibly do it all. You don’t need to be a professional musician to play on a worship team or a degree in theology to teach Sunday School. It takes every teen to every granny to put on a Kid’s Vacation Bible Day Camp. Willing hearts get given the opportunity to make an impact, whether it’s in the kitchen, the nursery, the garden or on stage. If you want a new program, you might have to start it yourself. Scheduling could be a bit tricky though, because the building is probably rented out half the time just to pay the bills. There are pros and cons to everything.
In a little church, your pastor and elders know your name, they miss you when you’re missing, they visit you and pray for you when you are sick. People hear it through the prayer chain and show up with casseroles. Practical needs are met; people with special needs rarely fall through the cracks. It’s old fashioned, I know, but when people get married or have babies, they get churchwide showers. When it comes time for someone to move, the whole gang shows up with pick up trucks. That’s rare in a big church – not impossible, but rare.
Don’t mistake me, God uses churches both big and small to accomplish his purposes. He is a God who loves variety. Many come to the Kingdom through programs only big churches can offer. But if you are someone who wants a family – a home where your presence matters, your voice is heard and your gifts are valued, then a small church is likely to be where God will use you most effectively. A little church won’t always be polished, let alone perfect. It may drive you a little bit crazy sometimes, but it will be real. You can laugh and cry and work hard and be the unique, creative individual that Jesus called into His service. And He did call us to be servants (see Matthew 20: 25-28). If this strikes a chord in you, then perhaps it’s time to stop asking what the church can do for you and ask what you can do for your church. Maybe it’s time to join a little church and start making a difference.
- Tricia Ris, Elder at Bear Creek Church