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Content-Full Relationships: Disciple-Making in the Context of God's Big Picture

Date recorded: 2 Jun 2015 | Speaker: Mark Stirling | Event: ELF Disciple Makers Network
Content-Full Relationships: Disciple-Making in the Context of God's Big Picture


There are two equal and opposite errors we fall into in our practice of disciple-making. On the one hand, we so emphasise relationship that there is no biblical content and people get together just to have a 'nice time'. On the other hand, we can be so set on delivering our pre-determined content that we are insensitive to what the Holy Spirit is actually doing in a person’s life. Against this false dichotomy, I propose an approach to disciple-making that may be described as ‘content-full relationship’. This requires first of all a firm grasp of the Biblical big picture and a rigorous biblical theology of maturity in Christ, so that the goal of disciple-making (that is, the restoration of human persons in the image of Christ) always guides the process and the content. In addition, this approach requires a good understanding of how people grow and what are the common barriers to spiritual growth. With these building blocks in place, we can develop ‘categories for listening’ whereby, in the context of ongoing loving relationship, we seek sensitively to discern what the Spirit is doing and how we may best serve the Spirit’s work of sanctification in a person’s life. In requiring flexibility and sensitivity as well as deep biblical knowledge, this approach to disciple-making demands much more of those who would seek to be disciple-makers - it requires nothing less than the rigorous preparation of the whole life so that we are ready “in season and out of season” to speak truth with love into the lives of others.