Church-wide discipleship rhythms have a compounding effect. While many things in life get weaker or worse the longer they go on, corporate discipleship grows stronger and sweeter.
For example, I love Mega Stuf Oreos. Sometimes it’s a problem. But in spite of their deliciousness, Mega Stuf Oreos have diminishing returns. At cookie number twelve or thirteen in a given sitting, they begin to not taste as good. They lose potency.
But other things actually become more special, more powerful, as they recur. I think about Christmas mornings with my family. They don’t get less special each time, but more, as the memories and the love and the years stack up.
Something similar happens in a church that over and over again publicly pursues and then publicly celebrates Jesus transforming hearts and lives. Unlike the Most Stufs, we never get tired of seeing Jesus rescue people and make things new. In fact we only find more joy in it. Your church can experience that joy too.
For the next few weeks on the blog, we’ll be considering some often overlooked aspects of discipleship in the early church. And one of those is corporate rhythms. Toward that end, take a moment to read Acts 2:42-47.
“They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
That is a discipleship ministry that is crushing it. I’ve been in the game a long time, but I’ve never met anybody who would look at those markers of effectiveness, and think, “Meh, That’s not hard.” No, those outcomes are miraculous.
Verse 43 – And they were filled with awe at the many wonders and signs.
Verse 44 – All the believers were together and had everything in common.
Verse 46 – They had glad and sincere hearts.
Verse 47 – The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
The original church was massively effective and one of the reasons it was effective was because of its corporate rhythms.
You see that first, in verse 42, in the word “devoted.” Devotion is not a passive thing. It’s not static. The word for “devotion” in the original language means… “to be devoted or constant; to be steadfastly attentive unto; to give unremitting care to a thing…”
Their devotion led to an unremitting, corporately fruitful discipleship. It wasn’t complacent or stagnant. It was rhythmic. Passionately consistent.
When was the last time your church started new groups? When was the last time you could sense continued, real devotion to discipleship in your congregation? Does your church have public, frequent excitement about becoming more like Jesus together? Or, is discipleship just something that gets its turn in the announcements sometimes?
We don’t see passivity in Acts 2. They were not just holding steady to what they had. No, there was consistent, powerful, rhythmic growth and celebration in the church and in people of the church. And that is what we want to see in our churches, and that is what we do see in Rooted Network churches. We have consistently seen, for many years, that the Rooted strategy helps churches instill rhythms of discipleship into the calendar of the church and the fruit of these corporate rhythms of discipleship is changed lives, cycle after cycle, season after season.
Here’s what that looks like…
- Churches that facilitate Rooted regularly, three to four times a year, see their entire church rhythmically engage in starting and celebrating new groups. Rooted cycles are publicly announced and corporately prepared for. New groups are launched as the whole church supports the ministry.
- Three or four times a year, the entire church rhythmically celebrates discipleship, and the life change that comes with it, through church-wide Rooted celebrations.
- That means that making disciples quickly becomes something that is recognized and celebrated and championed over and over again in the church body.
A Rooted cycle in a church can begin to have the same sort of anticipation as Christmas. Rooted is coming. Life-change is coming. Miracles are coming. Celebration is coming. And like Christmas morning with family, a church that corporately pursues discipleship together cycle after cycle, year after year, find the impact more compelling, not less.
For more information on instilling Rooted’s rhythms of discipleship in your church, register for the next What is Rooted? Webinar.