Jay Fennell interviews Jason Dukes, Brentwood Baptist Church Multiplication Minister and author of the foundations curriculum Living Sent, about Jason’s purpose, hope, and passion for the body of Christ discipling through engaging the lost and searching by living out the kingdom of God in service and compassion.
Part 1: What does “living sent” mean?
Part 2: What practices might arise from this study?
Part 3: What is significant about come and I will make you fishers of men?
Part 4: What could the body of Christ look like if it “lives sent”?
By Paul Wilkinson
When I was learning ethics, I had to spend a healthy amount of time learning differences, values, and dangers between descriptive ethics and prescriptive ethics. Descriptive ethics seeks to describe how people actually act, whether in this culture or that culture, whether with respect to God or not. Prescriptive ethics seeks to supply rules (or commands) for how one ought to act. It appeals to some standard that entails certain obligations and duties. This distinction can be helpful to the disciple-maker in two ways: first, we can look at how the disciples actually acted post-Easter when they fulfilled their vision of discipleship and, second, we can discern from Christ what a disciple and disciple-maker ought to do.
Descriptive discipleship would be simply to describe what we see from the disciples. I will just choose a sampling from Acts:
- These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer (1:14)
- Declared the gospel (2:14)
- Devoted to apostles’ teaching, to fellowship, to breaking bread, to prayer (2:42)
- Healed or ministered to others (3:6)
- Praised God for His works (4:24)
- Met each other’s needs (4:34)
- Teaching and preaching (5:42)
- Went and proclaimed (8:5)
- Service: kindness and charity (9:36)
- Provided disaster relief (11:28-29)
- Fasted (13:3)
- Filled with joy and the Holy Spirit (13:52)
- Followed up with those they taught and trained (15:36)
- Disagreed sometimes (15:38)
- Examined Scriptures to test teaching (17:11)
And of course they did these things in the power of the Spirit. Each of these points could be multiplied many times over as they repeated these tasks when going throughout the various towns. More could be said if we extended beyond Acts to the other New Testament letters and the Gospels, but I simply wanted to set forth some general description of what the disciples actually did.
The question for us is whether a descriptive look at our lives would yield a similar list. Are our actions such as those of the early church? Now, all this is not to say that if you were simply to do this list then, necessarily, you would become a disciple, rather I mean to suggest that if you are a disciple of Jesus then this list should represent, at least in part, your very life. Just like with LIFE and the descriptors attached to each function, challenge your groups with this sort of list so that they may examine themselves. I have certainly been convicted!
By Paul Wilkinson
Here’s a diagram I was taught last week during a 3-day training conference at LifeWay in downtown Nashville (click on diagram to enlarge):
Hopefully, you recognize the head, heart, hands language as the categories for the transformational learning model. And the wedges of the pie are the foundational dynamics for balanced small group discipleship. These categories fit within the transformational life strategy (LIFE) model. Bible Study in the form of weekly teaching and Discipleship Groups which provide personal space development would be the F function. Fellowship understood as non-group time gatherings, Ministry Inreach which is prayer and nurture within the group, and Financial Benevolence which is financial aid for those struggling in the group would be split between the L and I functions. Missions understood to be foreign missions through group trips or adoption of missionaries, Ministry Outreach which is personal evangelism and adding the unchurched to the LIFE group, and Community Projects understood as local missions would be the E function.
Use this pie, in addition to your other leader information, to diagnose where your LIFE group is springing and where they might be dragging their feet. If you see an area that needs attention, invite others to champion those causes. If you have a group member who has a passion for orphans, then empower them to champion projects at the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home. If you have a group member with a heart for missions to Nepal, then empower them to champion that cause for the group. If you have group members who love to schedule meals for the sick in your group or who would love to call members who miss a week to see how they are, then empower them to champion that cause. Your job is not to do all the work; rather, your job is to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12) by bringing the Word to your group, by encouraging your group to a balanced discipleship through each of the discipleship spaces, and by casting a vision for these other areas of ministry in the pie above. As many in business are told: only do what only you can do. I would modify that for the body of Christ as: do what you are uniquely called to do; invite and empower others to do the rest.
Now for the word of encouragement: you guys do these functions really well. Being “out of the office” for 3 days allowed me to look at the big picture rather than the minor cracks here or there, and I was convicted that I do not tell you enough that you are great. I appreciate your work for the Lord, your service for BBC, and your leadership for your group members. What a blessing you are to me!