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How to Make a Disciple, a Study for Young Men

This discipleship group will be led by Prof. David Fuentes on Thursday evenings from 9:15-10:45pm, starting Jan. 31. Email dfuentes@calvin.edu if you are interested.

One of the last things that Jesus said before leaving planet earth was “Go and make disciples.” Only one problem: most of us either don’t know how or we’re afraid to try. If we look into the meaning of the word “discipleship” (and we will), we find that it’s not so much about pumping answers into people as modeling how to learn from Jesus on a daily basis. So Jesus actually charged us to “Go and make learners.” Show people a pattern of life that helps them deal with triumphs and tragedy; with love, loneliness, laziness, and lust. Help them learn the difference between hyped-up spirituality and real prayer. Show them how to build on a foundation of real joy rather than fleeting happiness. Help them discover who I am in a personal and reverent way.

Now this is a “discipleship group,” which is a bit different than a Bible study. Yes, we’ll talk about things in the Bible, but the emphasis is on applying what we learn to real life situations—in other words, to practice on our friends. Each lesson will be both a refresher course for our own walk with Jesus, as well as a specific weekly challenge to help others grow in faith. One of the best parts, though, of the groups I’ve run over the past 15 years, is the mutual encouragement. The guys who join aren’t by any means perfect, but they tend to be absolutely serious about growing spiritually and serving God. If this describes you, we’d love to have you.

Here’s a preliminary outline of topics we’re likely to cover.

  1. What is the Gospel? (moving beyond guilt trips, empty dreams, and false promises)
  2. Meeting people where they are (and learning to ask “bothering” questions)
  3. The two kingdoms (conversion, self-improvement, and the choice for obedience)
  4. Encouragement, exhortation, and consolation (learning to speak the truth in love)
  5. Dealing with doubt (fielding difficult questions with total honesty)
  6. How to pray (following Jesus in utter dependence)
  7. How to love (learning to lay down your life for jerks)
  8. The power of testimony (how what God is doing in your life matters to all your friends)
  9. Orthodoxy (separating non-negotiables from things not worth arguing about)
  10. Encouraging fellowship (why we can’t do faith alone)