A key part of our strategic ministry plan is to develop and implement a core discipleship process, including both teaching modules and practice-oriented experiences, in the context of community and relationships. This is a priority item for us because because of the final words of Jesus to his church: “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28)
Those words form a charter of sorts for any church. The central calling of the church, that no other group in the world will be doing, is helping people reflect on, interpret for their lives, and live out in their lives, God’s purposes in Jesus Christ.
Goal: Our goal in this discipleship plan is clear: life long followers of Jesus and his ways, learners of his truth, and influencers of his life in our neighbourhoods and networks, city and world.
In the life and ministry of Jesus, we can note a pattern of belong-behave-believe, where he first calls disciples to himself, to belong in a community surrounded and centred on him (Matthew 4:18-22). This community became a community of practice as Jesus instructs his disciples in a new life (Matt. 5-7), and so the community begins to live the way of Jesus, healing people, offering hospitality, praying together, ministering to the sick (behave). Only then does Jesus call his disciples to formal belief (“Who do you say I am?” Mark 8:27-30; Luke 9:18-20), now recognizing and proclaiming faith in Jesus Christ (believe).
Three critical components in this pattern of faith formation are clear:
- relational community as the core context and process of formation
- intentional practice (a community of practice)
- experiential belief
Core Elements to the discipleship plan at Knox:
- Common worship at the centre: At the core and centre is the inter-generational and whole community faith experience of Sunday worship (celebration of the life of Jesus throughout the year in the Christian calendar). The teaching component of our common worship will form a critical piece of our discipleship plan.
- A common rule of life: continuing this life of worship is a shared rule of life that is an echo (or continuation) of our worship in daily life (spiritual practices, acts of service, etc), lived out individually or in family contexts. A rule (also called a rhythm of life) is a shared set of practices that Christians live out, an ongoing, lived way to “practice” our faith on a daily basis.
- A relational context: The small group relational structure is a central and vital part of the discipleship plan. Life change happens in the context of grace-filled community. Home Church is the context where we work in deeply the gospel – asking questions, figuring out the implications of the gospel for our lives, caring for and supporting another, and discovering the unique ways God has created us to serve – this is how the church spiritually functions as God intended.
- Seasonal Saturday learning/formation days: Within the flow of the three seasons of life we will offer three annual learning/formation Saturdays. Our discipleship strategy is focused on Small Group/Home Church/Conversation Communities, so we want to leave open weekday evenings for these gatherings (also recognizing that weeknights are not optimal times for people to attend further events given work and family schedules). On one Saturday each ministry season (Fall, Winter, Spring/Summer), we will host an all-day Saturday learning/formation day, offering a choice of courses and sessions. Including worship and lunch, it will be a rich time of community formation and celebration.
- A digital support stream (or feed): a curated stream of digital resources and worshipful content to help support ongoing discipleship and guide our congregation throughout the week. Digital technologies and media enable us to do our mission. We will pursue an anytime, anywhere model of faith-formation, developing a model where people can shape their faith-formation journey to their needs and situations, using mobile delivery systems and online digital content. While seeing community-based experiences as priority faith formation environments, we seek to supplement those with a digital support stream.
- Starting Points and onramps: we will also develop regular onramps and starting points for those new to the Christian faith and new to Knox.
- Christianity/Gospel 101 (a 2-3 week introduction to Jesus, understanding the gospel, and the life and ministry of Knox. This will be regularly offered throughout the year on Sundays)
- Baptism/profession of faith class