Shema-Shaped Discipleship: The CrossPoint Story
January 23, 2014
Updated March 20, 2018
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The small group network site is a learning community of small group leaders, discipleship coordinators, and pastors. Some of you join the community by reading the posts. We are glad you are here! Others comment and ask questions. Today, Danell Czarnecki joins by sharing the disciple growing plan of CrossPoint CRC in Chino, CA. Feel free to join the conversation by asking Danell or others questions or sharing your own ideas. — Sam Huizenga
CrossPoint’s discipleship strategy may be the simplest and most used word in our vocabulary, yet the most difficult of words to truly live out — LOVE. The Shema (found in Deut. 6:5) gives a complete picture of what a disciple looks like and does. CrossPoint has shaped our call to be disciples who disciple in three simple steps.
1. Love God with ALL your Heart. Be; with God. Live in His Presence. Seek His presence. Not just on Sundays but in prayer, in fasting, in giving, in singing, in everything. This is our act of worship.
2. Love God with ALL your mind. Become; like the Son. Learn about Jesus; live like the Son, this is discipleship. (1 Peter 2:21)
3. Love God with ALL your strength/might. Go; in service; live in the power of the Holy Spirit. “…offer your bodies as a living sacrifice … which is your spiritual act of worship (service).” (Rom. 12:1)
These three “legs” flow through every ministry and are expressed visually, verbally and experientially in all we do. Our Covenant Partner Class (membership) stresses the importance of consistent worship attendance, daily prayer and Bible reading; becoming part of a learning community, and discovering your spiritual gifts and using them to build the body; all for which God uses in our transformative journey.
CrossPoint recently started a Bible Institute for the purpose of teaching the God story as a narrative and takes people through the practice of spiritual disciplines. We live in a time of great Bible illiteracy and the Institute hopes to give those who attend a bigger and deeper picture and understanding of Scripture. It is a three-year curriculum that teaches Old Testament and New Testament as well as spiritual disciplines and reformed distinctives. These are foundational classes which we encourage everyone who comes to CrossPoint to attend.
CrossPoint continues to offer and encourage people to be a part of a small group, where they can be known and loved and know and love others. Curriculum varies depending on the make-up of the group, but the primary purpose of these groups is to provide care and connections.
CrossPoint has also refocused their Children’s Ministry to follow suit; the shepherds take the children through the Big God Story, chronologically each year, focusing on the Holy Spirit as teacher and then reinforces the family as the primary disciple-makers. This means coming alongside families and equipping them to disciple their children in every aspect of parenting. Those ages 0-college are part of the body of Christ and needn’t wait until they are “of age” to find their contribution to edification the body, they are an integral part of the body today and we can learn from them too.
Disciples worship. Disciples serve. Worship is Discipleship. Service is Discipleship. Discipleship and Service are acts of Worship. Latreuo is Greek for worship and literally translated means to serve or to render, as the priests did in the tabernacle. (Phil. 3:3). So when we serve others, we grow as a disciple and we honor God as we offer that service as worship back to Him.
We are called to love God and love others. Because of God, that love ignites in us a passion to learn and know more about a Triune God who loves us more than mere words can express. With that very love and understanding about who this God is, we are compelled to go into the world and share His love and grace.
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I like that this is not just a small groups story, that Danell explained how this is just one part of how this vision for Discipleship is implemented across multiple ministries. Thanks, Danell!
Thank you Dannell for sharing this. At CrossPoint you have done what most churches have not. You have created a unified and clear description and path of discipleship. It is very easy to understand and to understand where to go at Crosspoint to grow in one's next step with Jesus.
I would love to write a case study of CrossPoint some day. Have you all taken Reveal? It would be a helpful, statistically valid analysis of CrossPoint and to give a base to compare against fin the future to show amount of improvement--something for others interested in effective discipleship in the local congregation to see.
I realize that from one blog post I may not understand the whole picture. If I understand it correctly, I would challenge you to think more about the loving God with one's "mind" piece. I appreciate that you do not simply define mind as what one memorizes cognitively. Yet, loving with one's mind is more than becoming like Christ. It also contains the cognitive element. Various studies have shown that at least core theological beliefs such as God as a personal God and the authority of Scripture are an important part of a disciple's growth.
While you do not spell it out completely I expect that you would define "discipleship" as the act of growing greater/deeper one's love for God. If that is your definition of discipleship, I am not sure one can say worship and service each IS discipleship. They are each actions which are a result of one's growing deeper in love with Jesus--the result of discipleship. For some people service and/or worship are strong tools for growing as lovers of God. but not for everyone. We are each shaped differently and service for example is not as strong a discipler for some as it is for others.
All-in-all though this model is clear and easy for people to apply. Keep working it! Thank you for sharing.
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