Story & Photo - Kyle English
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. ~Matthew 28:19-20
AJ grew up in an active Catholic family, but never fully felt like he understood the Gospel. His life began to change when a Christian girl came into his life. “She started taking me to a Christian Church,” he recalls, “and taught me how to read the Bible, and was just a great example of what it meant to walk with Jesus.” As the relationship progressed a few months, he began to undergo a major shift in perspective and heart attitude. “God opened up my eyes and my heart to see the depth of my sin, and His endless love and grace over my life.” Soon thereafter, he began serving in his community, and volunteering at the Tacoma Rescue mission. It was there that he met a new friend who attended Resurrection Church and kept insisting that he come check it out; which he eventually did. “I have now been attending Resurrection Church for the past year and a half and am very blessed to be a part of it,” he states.
In the Fall of 2016, AJ had the opportunity to attend an immersive discipleship experience at Resurrection Church. The training, then called Disciple, lasted ten weeks, and looked at what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. It provided the tools and learning environment for participants to grow in discipleship and disciple-making; while learning about the church’s five core values: Jesus, Love, Truth, Transformation, and Legacy. If this all sounds familiar to you, it’s because Disciple eventually refined into our church's ten-week Disciple Maker series; laying the foundation for our current Disciple Maker Equip and setting the direction for Discipleship Groups.
AJ is up front when asked about his initial reason for wanting to take part, stating “I initially enrolled because I was told it was needed to become a member (it’s not any longer).” However, he took to the learning experience very quickly, and found himself enjoying the discipleship and new community he plugged in with. He adds, “just after the first class, I ended up really loving it, and got to know some really great people!”
A big part of growing in discipleship, in addition to gaining a better understanding of what it means to be a disciple, is learning to disciple one another. This is practiced, in part, by participating in small discipleship groups. The purpose of these groups, is to continually engage each other in discussion, prayer, fellowship, and accountability. AJ says of his group, “from the very start, God was really moving among us. Meeting a group of complete strangers… and yet at the end of the first day, we had all felt like we’d known each other for a long time. As time went on, we got to really know each other and grow as brothers in Christ.”
When asked what discipleship means to him, AJ responds that it “means actively walking with Jesus. Spending time with the Lord through prayer, scripture reading, and fellowship to where we are continually learning and growing in His likeness.”
He goes on to talk about his greatest takeaways from the experience: “Overall, there were many great practical tools I acquired that I can honestly say will be used throughout the rest of my life. The number one thing I personally have taken away is that discipleship is meant to be done in community; and through it all, God has not only blessed me and equipped me in that aspect, but in all areas to live a life devoted to Him.”
As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. ~John 17:18
Disciple Maker Equip and Discipleship Groups continue to be important parts of Resurrection Church. If you are not yet part of either, you can connect by texting the numbers below or by visiting the Connect Desk on Sunday.