DIRECTIONS 2025 | Intentional Discipleship – Take The Next Step
Theme for 2022 | Discipleship In The Church
What’s on your heart for 2022?
I long for renewal. Something new from the Lord. That’s my hope for 2022 as I put the past year behind and press on to take hold of what the new year brings.
I sincerely believe I can experience and encounter the new as I grow in the likeness of Christ in my discipleship.
I also know that the Lord wants to do a new thing for us as a church this new year. I believe He is inviting us to be renewed through our discipleship as we take the next step to grow in Him.
Let us be intentional about our discipleship this year.
Let me offer three reasons why that is so important. First, we need to be intentional; otherwise we will drift from God. Our sin-led disposition is to move away from God unless we intentionally stay close and grow in Him. In these pandemic times, all the more we need be to intentional in being more like Christ so that we may truly make our life count in these challenging and perilous times.
The second reason is that intentional discipleship is simply obeying God’s clarion call for disciples who are willing to grow deep instead of remaining shallow. God is calling a generation who is willing to grow deep, so that we may truly know Him and make Him known for such a time as this. Let us respond to His call.
Lastly, we need to be intentional because Christ is returning soon. The Covid-19 pandemic is a divine reminder from the Lord that we are truly in the end times. Let us make the best of every opportunity to grow deeper so that we may know and experience the transforming power of God preparing us for the return of His Son.
So let us be intentional in following and growing in Christ.
To be intentional is to first engage in right methods for growth. The Wesley Discipleship Model is a holistic framework which outlines five faith environments of Significant Circumstances, Scriptural Obedience, Spiritual Relationships, Spiritual Disciplines and Sacrificial Service or CORDS for short, for us to intentionally grow.
Let me encourage you to do a spiritual health-check at wesleymc.org/spi-health-check so you may know how to take the next step in your intentional discipleship.
Next, find a community that you may be accountable to for your growth in discipleship. It may be to join a Small Group, or form a group of spiritual friends to journey together. I pray we may experience the abiding presence of God encouraging us to help each other grow as we stay accountable to one another. I pray for us to encounter spiritual breakthroughs and be deeply encouraged through the sharing of testimonies and stories of faith and perseverance.
Finally, ask the Holy Spirit to make you willing. No human reasoning or persuasion can make us intentional. Only the Spirit of God can grant that inner desire and willing posture. When we are willing and available, God can and will do a deep work of transformation and renewal in our lives as we take that next step of growth in Him. Let’s humble ourselves and ask the Spirit of God to grant us that willing heart.
Yes, a new year brings fresh possibilities of renewal!
My prayer for you is from Ephesians 4:23-24 (NLT):
“Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God – truly righteous and holy.”
Yes, let us put on our new nature as we grow in the likeness of Christ so that we may find our joy, purpose, and strength through our intentional discipleship for the season ahead.
Come, let’s take the next step together as a Wesley family.
Growing with you,
Rev Raymond Fong
WHAT IS A DISCIPLE?
What Is A Disciple?
In Wesley Methodist Church, a disciple is one who loves Christ and one another, by growing in Christ, sharing Christ and serving Christ.
Loving Christ and one another
The Methodists, led by John Wesley, have always been passionate about our discipleship.
According to John Wesley, the grand depositum which God has placed with the Methodists is the doctrine of Christian perfection. John Wesley taught Christian perfection as a perfection of love — to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love our neighbours as ourselves (Mark 12:28-31).
Therefore, Christian perfection is a perfection of our relationship with God. “It is a purity of intention, dedicating all of life to God, giving Him all our heart, where there is only one desire and design ruling all our tempers.” 1
By growing in Christ, sharing Christ
The disciple seeks to grow in holiness, becoming more like Christ each day. Keenly aware that we need God’s help to grow in Christlikeness, the disciple relies on the power of the Holy Spirit to walk in obedience and intimacy with God.
How is this possible? As the disciple walks humbly with God, he or she is being perfected by the love of God from evil thoughts and tempers. In the same fashion, God’s love empowers us to experience spiritual fruitfulness. Through the joy experienced in our personal relationship with God, the disciple becomes passionate about sharing the gospel with others so that they may also experience God themselves. Therefore, the disciple takes every opportunity to introduce others into a deeper relationship with God.
And Serving Christ
As we ponder what Christlikeness looks like for us, we must also remember Jesus is the One who gave Himself completely and unconditionally for us on the cross (John 3:16). Therefore, we are to continue to grow in Christ by loving and serving each other as Jesus would. Loving one another is the direction in which the Spirit of God moves us toward Christlikeness.
Disciples are called to love one another by spurring each other on, loving God piously and loving others with sacrificial acts of mercy (Hebrews 10:24). Here in Wesley Methodist Church, we encourage you to serve Christ by offering life-giving friendships in Small Group and serving in the various church ministries.
May you experience the prayer of the Apostle Paul: that as Christ dwells in your heart through faith, you may have the power through the Holy Spirit, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God! (Eph 3:16-19)
1Thompson, A. C. (Ed.). (2014). A Plain Account of Christian Perfection as Believed and Taught by Mr. John Wesley from the Year 1725 to the Year 1777. Seedbed Publishing. https://asburyseminary.edu/wp-content/themes/asburyseminary/books/Christian-Perfection.pdf
WESLEY DISCIPLESHIP MODEL
Your spiritual well-being matters. Here at Wesley, we are very interested in your spiritual growth. It is this concern of your faith growth that a framework of discipleship was prepared. The Wesley Discipleship Model (WDM) is a holistic approach to discipleship developed with the discernment of disciple-making teachings from the Bible and John Wesley’s application of the scriptures. The ultimate aim is to form and sustain a Christ-like spirit in us, so that we will love our God with all our heart, soul, strength and mind and love our neighbour as ourselves.
WDM recognises that we need different faith environments (or catalysts) to grow fully. Hence the WDM is not a linear model but a dynamic and spirit-led concept of spiritual growth. It allows the Holy Spirit to guide us through different growth seasons of our lives. The application of WDM is simple. We just need to seek our Lord and avail ourselves to all the five faith environments for the holistic formation of our spirit. The balanced approach of our head, heart, and hands will help us avoid a lop-sided development of our Christian faith. The five faith-growing environments are Significant Circumstances, Scriptural Obedience, Spiritual Relationships, Spiritual Disciplines and Sacrificial Service, or CORDS for short. In availing ourselves to the equipping sessions and activities in the CORDS environments, we will discover the wonderful and fulfilling life that God has intended for us individually and collectively!
To equip you in your life-long journey of faith and enable you to develop your God-given talents for works of service in God’s Kingdom, the church and Discipleship & Nurture (D&N) committee has assembled many courses and events across all the CORDS environments for you to participate in. You will find information of these courses on our church website and other communications media.
Becoming a disciple does not happen in a moment. It is a lifelong journey of intentionally following the footsteps of Christ that leads to personal transformation. God has created each one of us in our own unique way. As such, all of us will have our own distinct faith journey in God’s time and pace. Our response is simply to take the next step!