Week One: Jesus Calls All
“Come & See Me” Tier One Training
What we finished last week on the webpage “Disciples Multiplying Disciples,” I call “Zero Week” because there is no commitment on your part. If you somehow ended up on this webpage, I would encourage you and your group to return to the webpage referred to above and begin there.
If you are here, then your answer was “yes” to continue with these five weeks.
Because learning accelerates when we pre-prepare, I’m going to suggest that you strive to maximize our time together bypreapring ahead of the group time. This won’t take long, yet is crucial to take steps to be a disciple of Jesus (“disciple” actually means “learner”). I believe that Jesus is the most remarkable person who ever walked the earth and well worth all the effort we give.
A big statement!?! Certainly.
Read for the next five weeks “as if you are there.” It’s so attractive, the picture of Jesus’ connected relationship with His Father and how He drew others to Himself by welcoming each where they are. Even many in our 21st century society are attracted to Jesus, when He’s rightly seen.
Jesus is looking for obedient followers today like His early followers, those who obey in His footsteps as He seeks His Father’s heart.
In order to do this, we must “flip” the normal way most of us learned in the school system. I will provide the verses to read from Scripture. Please read without outside helps for now to learn afresh to look to the Spirit of God for insight. Then towards the end of the week before coming to group, read the one article provided each week of around 3,000 words. These are my thoughts gathered from a slew of others who have taught on making disciples. Merge these with your own thoughts.
Preferably, print out the article. Read and mark it up. Agree or disagree. Add your own thoughts and questions to make it your own so it becomes your voice from the New Testament (NT) and not just an echo of mine. We know an echo is distant and diminishing, hollow and without life.
Since first-hand exploring best leads to personal discovery, here’s what I’m asking for next five weeks together. Dive in for at least a few minutes each day, like if you were putting out effort to begin a new friendship. I like to muse with “I wonder…” thoughts.
Then we will come back together again next week as both learners and teachers as we interactively share discoveries about Jesus with each another. Read and reread these six following verses on your own each day for a week before you come to group. Jot down your thoughts and questions on Mark 1:15 and Matthew 28:16-20.
Then on the fifth or sixth day add the short, free PDF article from the link for the accompanying free PDF article, Jesus Calls All. Print out the article. Mark it up. Make it your own. Come to your group with your thoughts, uplifts and questions so we can explore together as both a learner and a mutual teacher.
Each week we will go through these four bullet points as guidelines for our time together.
- Starters. One thing this week you are grateful for. Review.
- Read the passage out loud in a circle, a few verses each.
- Debrief insights from the passage and from the accompanying article with each other as both a learner and a teacher.
- Share & Pray: a 15-30-second personal request, then our best 30-second prayer. Also pray at times for our city.
Spend One Week on the Assignment Before Continuing
Week Two: “Come & See Me”
“Come & See Me” Tier One Training
Read and reread these following verses on your own each day for a week. Jot down your thoughts and questions on John 1:19-51. Then on the fifth or sixth day add the article available as a free PDF link, “Come & See Me.” Mark it up. Bring your observations and questions to your interactive SmallGroup.
Come with your thoughts to your group as both a learner and a mutual teacher.
What are some of the marks of the strategy Jesus practiced? Jot down your own summary before continuing as preparation for an interactive dialog about being and making disciples.
Week Three: Engage the Welcoming Heart of Jesus
“Come & See Me” Tier One Training
What follows are TWO passages from this “Come & See Me” time period as illustrations of how Jesus met a variety of people (John 3:1-21 + John 4:4-26. Both became credible witnesses. One after several years and one immediately.Click here for the free PDF of Engage the Welcoming Heart of Jesus.
As I look at the heart of Jesus, He meets each individually where each is in their uniqueness, then nudges each individually towards His Father’s loving heart, yet only as far as they are open.
I believe Jesus…rightly understood…is the most attractive person to ever walk this earth. Truly knowing Jesus draws us to Him in such a way that we eagerly follow Him with our whole heart…even with a bit of trepidation because of the unknown.
I would suggest the group reading both passages this week. Try to read each a couple of times, focusing primarily on how Jesus related to these two very different people.
This is designed with very little commentary from me. And please, at this time don’t go to footnotes, google or commentaries for help. Let the Spirit teaching your yearning heart who Jesus is. Later there’s time to dig deeper.
Although I’m suggesting one week for the two chapters, if your group prefers to read through only one each week, that’s fine. Each group is unique so decides together for themselves.
Enjoy your adventure of discovery of the wonderful person of Jesus!
Also for later if you are interested later, these are two selections from my book on Amazon.Com called “Discover the Welcoming Heart of Jesus.” It guides us as a companion through most of John’s Gospel, focusing on how Jesus relates with people on His way.
Week Four: “We Would See Jesus”
“Come & See Me” First Training Tier
Following are a few scattered verses to give you a small taste for what the NT means by being a disciple. Read and reread these following verses on your own each day for a week. Jot down your thoughts on Matthew 7:13-14; Matthew 11:28-30; Luke 6:46-48; Colossians 1:28-29 and John 13:34-35 without any outside help like Bible footnotes or commentaries. Then on the fifth or sixth day read the following. Come with your thoughts and question to explore together in your SmallGroup as both a learner and a teacher.
Print out the free PDF articles on “We Would See Jesus.” Read it before we meet. Mark it up. Make it your own. Come with your thoughts and questions to explore together in your SmallGroup as both a learner and a mutual teacher.
Week Five: Making Disciples: A Glimpse Beyond
“Come & Follow Me” Tier TWO Training
This passage is longer, two chapters, Mark 1:15-3:12. If possible, read these following verses rapidly on your own each day for the first five or six days to catch big-picture impressions.
These events are exciting, so catch the feel of them. Jot down your thoughts and questions to think about and to bring to group.
Then on the fifth or sixth day add the following article from this free PDF link, Making Disciples, A Glimpse Beyond. Come with your thoughts and questions to your group as both a learner and a mutual teacher.
Let’s continue to dialog interactively about Jesus’ strategy for making disciples from the Source of the Father, Son and Spirits presence from what we have read so far. Verbalizing fresh insights or previous ones deepens these in our hearts.
I can say in advance that I enjoyed this time together. I’ve discovered that each and every group is different. Yet I have enjoyed every SmallGroup centered around Jesus and His Word…at least so far!
Thank you so much for fulfilling your commitment!
After this initial contact with His five disciples-to-be in John 1:35-51, Jesus released them. He sent them back to their occupations after this short time together to reflect.
“Is Jesus and the others the people in community that I want to do life and ministry with?”
In Mark 1:16-20, Jesus approached four again and they immediately re-upped with an increased commitment. Why? They had begun to see that Jesus fulfilled their deepest heart-yearnings.
So, our group has now finished its initial purpose, and I’m sending you back to reflect, like Jesus did with His first disciples.
I’m suggesting this group consider taking a short break. As gatekeepers of your heart, decide regarding the question below and let your group leader know, whether yes or no.
“Is Jesus and these others the people in community that I want to do life and ministry with?”
- For those who say, “No thanks, not at this time,” we say thanks for enriching our lives for these five weeks. Be blessed doing your God-assignments during this season.
- For those who say, “Yes, I want to continue,” let the others in your group know.
- Perhaps a third option. Thee group as a whole or some in the group say, “I’m not ready to move on from “Come & See Me.” I need a few more weeks.” What then?
All three are valid choices. Let each decide for themselves as the gatekeeper of their own hearts.
There’s no hurray to move on to “Come & Follow Me.” We only have data that three of the five in the previous training tier moved on. Yet please don’t linger to long in “Come & See Me” because God has more for you. Bible experts tell us this first training tier for these original four perhaps lasted four months.
It’s OK to take a break for a few weeks to decide, like His 1st century disciples did.
As I compare and contrast the first two training tiers, a few aspects stand out. Your group must decide how this looks in your context in this season. However, please us Jesus as your ministry model, not what you see in the world around you. Let me compare and contrast the first two stages to provide a bit more information to decide.
- Tier One: “Come & See Me” Purpose: “Draw in” (John 1:35-51, extended in John 2:1-4:45 & with the “crowds” in the Gospels) – This is a warm, welcoming, mixed-gender, open People freely come and go. The purpose is to introduce how winsome Jesus is, so each may make a decision. “Is this the people with whom I want to learn to do life with Jesus?”
- Tier Two: “Come & Follow Me” Purpose: “Make Disciples” (Mark 1:14-3:12 plus Luke 4:14-6:11 & John 4:46-5:47) – This is a nine-month transitional training tier. Drawing from the “always with you” presence of God in an interactive, same-gender, temporary semi-closed Jesus restores two essential gifts for our journey, both from our creation design as image-bearers. First, He emphasizes the freedom for which He fashioned humanity in His image by breaking off legalism (a focusing on doing certain practices to earn or deserve God’s favor), Second, Jesus also models His delegated Kingdom authority for ministry through works of compassion and power. Jesus prepares His disciples to go to every people group with His authority to break the chains of the enemy so God’s people can live and rest in His freedom. The commitment He prepared His disciples for was: “Will you willingly follow Jesus with your whole heart wherever I send you with your God-Assignments?”
Jesus prepares His disciples to go to every people group with His authority to break the chains of the enemy so God’s people can live and rest in His freedom. The commitment He prepared His disciples for was: “Will you willingly follow Jesus with your whole heart wherever I send you with your God-Assignments?”
To top off the “Come & See Me” training tier if the group is not yet ready to launch beyond, consider the following together. All the books I mention below, I have published on Amazon.com at a low price for your convenience.
“Discover the Welcoming Heart of Jesus” is a guide through the Gospel of John with a minimum of helps. The goal is less Bible study (although it is that). “We want to see Jesus” (John 12:21). The first article in the Appendix (Rapid & Repeated Reading through John) accelerates the reading to seven weeks with three chapters per week. This hones these two essential skills for Bible study. Decide how much time the group wants to take.
Although you must choose your pace, I would suggest you consider if your SmallGroup will commit to three chapters per week for seven weeks through the Gospel of John. Explore together how Jesus relates with people by welcoming each where she/he is, then nudging toward the Father’s heart to the degree He senses openness. Drink deeply of who Jesus is, the most astounding person to ever walk this earth. Seeing Jesus accurately accelerates insight into all the other Scripture.
Dialog with each other and with the Master-Discipler, Jesus. “What’s next, Jesus?” Some may not now have the time in this present season to step up their commitment and want to choose to remain in “Come & See” for now. Bless them and stay relationally connected.
Be sensitive to the season each is in, and where each is with their commitment to Jesus. Perhaps make another short time commitment, from five to seven weeks before reevaluating again. After all, Jesus is the Discipler and each member has joint ownership, even if one may be “first among” the group because of spiritual maturity. With Jesus at the center, your SmallGroups of 3-5 (plus Jesus) could go in numerous directions.
“There is no substitute for getting with people, and it is ridiculous to imagine that anything less, short of a miracle, can develop strong Christian leadership. After all, if Jesus, the Son of God, found it necessary to stay almost constantly with his few disciples for three years, and even one of them was lost, how can a church expect to do this job on an assembly line basis a few days out of the year?”
(Robert E. Coleman, The Master Plan of Evangelism, p. 49-50.)
It’s similar today in a SmallGroup with Jesus is in the center.
For those who continue after the break, move on to the cascading webpage “Come & Follow Me.”