The Six Essential Elements of Discipleship

The Six Essential Elements of Discipleship

September 14, 2020 | Nate Kaloupek

As a church, we’ve recently let you know about our mission and values, putting language and clarity to what we’ve always wanted to do as a local body of believers. In order to help us accomplish the mission of “Raise up mature disciples. Send out everyday missionaries. Glorify God.”, we've identified six essential elements of discipleship, things we as a church want to do to help shape a people to be mature disciples and everyday missionaries. We're not saying these are the only things a disciple does. Different churches might put a different emphasis or spin on them. We want to let you know what we mean when talk about developing disciples here at Veritas Church.

You'll see in all of these categories there are things we can do or provide as a church, but discipleship is also a personal journey. You have to choose to enter in and be shaped.

Worship: Promotes the supremacy of God

Human beings are worshippers by nature. We are always finding things in life to give our time, energy, attention, and affection to. Worship is declaring this object, pursuit, or person is "worth it." 

We worship because we were made to worship, but nothing is actually worth our worship other than God himself.

We are going to provide a context on Sundays to gather and worship God together, as well as opportunities to declare your worship through baptism or communion.

Abide: Practices personal holiness and godly habits

Abiding means remaining relationally close. God doesn't just want our intellectual assent, saying "yes, I believe these things are true," he also wants us to draw near to him and stay close to him. In the process he'll change and develop us, but almost as an afterthought. The real goal is God himself.

He has given us his Word, the Bible, to get to know him and enjoy him. He's given us spiritual rhythms or disciplines like prayer, confession, or sabbath. All of these are meant to draw back to enjoying and staying close to God himself.

We want to give you resources to help you abide, remaining relationally close to God, through these spiritual rhythms and disciplines. These include our Bible reading plan, prayer guide, and other resources in the Resource Center.

Learn: Possesses biblical understanding

Biblical understanding leads to biblical thinking and living. We want to develop discernment and insight, and God has given us the Bible as our main tool in shaping our worldview. We don't want to learn in order to sound smarter or be able to win Bible quiz bowls. We want to be transformed, living as missionaries in the places God sends us every week.

We'll have regular classes geared around growing in our understanding. We're also partnering with Veritas Church Iowa City to offer masters level theological courses built into a nine-month plan, called Veritas School of Theology.

Connect: Participates in church community

The entire storyline of the Bible demonstrates that our faith is meant to be walked in community. Biblically, there is no such thing as an isolated or solitary follower of God. The people who received Jesus' command to go make disciples went and planted churches—communities of faith.

At its most basic level, being connected at Veritas looks like showing up for church. Beyond that, we have connection groups built around community, care, application, and multiplication. Another way to feel connected to Veritas is to serve on a Sunday morning or Wednesday night.

Invest: Prepares others to follow Christ

Investment is a fitting word for the process of preparing others to follow—it takes time, energy, intention, and effort. The best context to draw from is one where relationship is already being built—our connection groups. We're also going to provide a Disciple Making Guide, a simple guide to practicing spiritual rhythms with a few other people as the context to grow.

We want a culture of intentional investment. Beyond groups and the guide, we want to be the kind of people who invite others over after church to talk about life or meet together with other believers to talk about the struggles and joys of following Jesus.

Go: Pursues the lost

No matter how long you've been following Christ, if you have accepted the gospel, you're now an ambassador of the gospel. That's what we mean by saying we want to send out everyday missionaries. Your workplace, your neighborhood, your trip to the grocery store all are places God is sending you to be a gospel messenger.

We also know we need to grow together in how we engage our neighbors, families, and friends. We will provide training in a regular class called The Ambassadors Class. We will also have strategic partnerships in our city for us to get involved in engaging with the hungry, inner city youth, families and the unborn, and internationals and refugees in our community.

Even more than this, we are part of a church planting network, The Salt Network, focused on reaching the next generation at colleges and universities both in America and globally. We would love to send many from our church family to be part of this expanding church planting work.

You may feel encouraged by some of these elements, and personally challenged by others. We are all in a process of growing to be more of the people Jesus is calling us to be, becoming mature disciples and everyday missionaries, all for the glory of God.

Keep your eyes open for opportunities around our church as we all step into these six essential elements of discipleship.

Nate Kaloupek

Connection Groups & Care Director (Pastor)