“Circle Up” is the phrase we hear at sports events, work or family meetings. It means: “Let’s get together & get after what’s really important!”
“All authority in heaven & on earth has been given to Me. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” —Matthew 28:18-20
This Great Commission wasn’t about getting people to simply make decisions for Jesus, but to cultivate disciples who would learn to live like Jesus lived.
The Greek Root Word for a disciple means: A pupil of a specific teacher, or an apprentice to a master craftsman. Discipleship isn’t just intellectually learning about something, but being shaped to understand how to think & how to function in the same way as the master.
Jesus says this about becoming a disciple (Matt 28:18-20).
- Baptized (“all-in”, submerged, nothing held back;)
- Taught (not only learning intellectually, but modeling &
showing the way to go)
- Obedient (to God, proof of a disciple well-taught)
Believers need to be transformed by God through a decision
to repent…and then discipleship has to follow.
Our Goal as a church is to encounter Jesus, then do what He said and make disciples who are growing in His power, way, life, & love.
Rows & Circles
- Rows are churches like us, like what most of us know, where we literally sit in rows; a church gathering is to
benefit all. (1 Cor 14)
- Circles indicate small gatherings of believers meeting in homes or public spaces; Circles are marked by the fact that people know one another and that everyone can see each other.
The New Testament Church
Rows were part of the New Testament church reality (Jerusalem & Ephesus) but in the NT it seems whenever a church was really big, it also found a way to be really small.
Circles were also attributes of New Testament churches where Believers met in homes (even if large groups) but they were relationally rich, they had access to each others’ lives and lived in accountable discipleship.
God’s Eternal Nature is Relational
He created us to be in relationship with Him & relationship with one another. Even before the fall, even before sin, (Genesis 2:18) God said it wasn’t good for us to be alone. So He created man & woman (each are unique expressions of humanity) to partner together in the kind of unity that reflected the trinity partnership.
Because God is relational and we’re created in God’s image, we’re also created to grow in context of relationship with one-another. It doesn’t have to be in a church small group, but for many that’s great place to start.
The “Matt 28” promise that Jesus will be with us always isn’t only an individual promise, it’s collective and in context we see He’s with us as we join together in trinity unity to make disciples.