What Does “Discipleship” Mean?
February 9, 2022 Creekwood United Methodist Church

What Does “Discipleship” Mean?

Posted in Deep Thoughts


In the church/theology world there are a lot of crazy terms. Take for example…

ecclesiology (study of church)

eucharistic (relating to communion),

epiclesis (invoking God’s presence in communion)

A term I think a lot of us are familiar with, and still may find confusing (even for me at times), is discipleship. We know what it means to be a disciple – to be a student, i.e. the disciples that followed Jesus Christ. Not to just imitate Jesus Christ, but to learn from him, his life and ministry.

So then, what does discipleship mean at church, at Creekwood?

I am so glad you asked (I know I really did – j/k)…

I think there are a couple of ways to help guide us in answering that question.

First, as a body and community of faith – discipleship relates to how we are collectively learning to follow Jesus Christ today. A lot of this includes small groups, Sunday small groups, home groups, weekday groups, etc. One of the things I love about Wesleyan theology and history is our discipleship DNA connected to small groups. Back in England, during the rise and formation of the Early Methodists (1730s – 1750s) the backbone of the movement was embodied in small groups called “Class Meetings.” These meetings surrounded around groups of people, including women and men (scandalous for back then!), to meet in houses and encourage one another in their faith. These Classes meet weekly, if not more, and centered around each person “proclaiming the state of one’s soul” – essentially recapping where they felt close to God, when they felt distant, what they needed help and assistance in for the following week. People found a deep sincerity of faith and purpose, listening to and encouraging one another as a collective group.

In many ways, I think that emphasis of sharing the state of our souls with one another, to speak about where we are in life, where we see God at work, where we feel distance from God – in numerous ways that is at the heart of engaging in discipleship in a small group.

The other aspect of what discipleship embodies deals with connecting to the other parts of the church and our life outside of church. We don’t practice discipleship in a vacuum, just as we don’t worship for the purpose of checking off a weekly to-do to appease God. Rather, discipleship, informs our experience in worship, as worship informs how we share with others in discipleship. That extends to what we do throughout the week, with our families, our work, our friends, every aspect of life.

If discipleship entails learning how to follow Jesus as a collective body and connecting ourselves to holistically experience God in worship, missions, daily-life, then I think we have found an answer to our question.

At Creekwood, we currently have numerous small groups that meet on Sundays, and throughout the week. Each group answers that question of discipleship in their own unique ways, whether you are a Nester (young adults/parents raising kids) or Empty Nester (parents with kids out of the house). Or if you are an Agape (multigenerational class growing in faith together) or a Celebrator (class of older adults studying and guiding each other in love). You could be a Wesley, FaithWork, Life-Perspective, or even a yet-to-be-discoverer (new groups).

Here are two new groups we are launching at Creekwood

First, this Lent, specifically March 9th – April 6th, we will be hosting a Women’s Study on Wednesdays at 7pm led by Pastor Keri Lynn in room 109/110

This group will explore our church-wide Lent curriculum, which will be a discussion based study on the theme of prayer. Not just prayer in a solely speaking verbally to God manner, but exploring the various and unique expressions of how we can communicate to God and how God yearns to communicates with us.

If you are interested please email Keri Lynn.

Second, Staring March 27th we will be launching a new weekly Sunday small group called “Sojourners”

Sojourners is a class open to everyone, whether visiting, new, or current members at Creekwood. The purpose of the class is to connect and grow deeper in faith with one another as we look at faith related to our wider world. To “sojourn” is to visit a particular place, or for this class, a particular topic, and explore how it relates to our lives.

Each week we’ll take a topic from a video lesson, i.e. TED Talks, YouTube clips, other curriculum – and discern how such topics (like relationships, being an introvert, shame, sports, and more) intersect with our wider culture, ourselves, and our faith.

If you are interested in joining Sojourners, stop by any Sunday we meet at 9:45am in Room 104

Or for any other questions or information, please reach out to Adam.

Look forward to journeying with you as we seek to grow deeper roots in our love for God and one another…


Pastor Adam White

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