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Five contexts of discipleship at MBC


Church gatherings were never meant to be a “one size fits all”.  We are to express the body of Christ in different physical spaces - the five contexts of discipleship.  This is about recognising the strengths of different sizes, both in our growth as disciples and as we help disciple others.  

We belong in all five contexts - that is how church is meant to look.  But we need to come with the right expectations for each one.  We should not expect complete discipling from just one or two contexts, but we should develop a sustainable rhythm of church that gives us all five contexts - both to receive and also to enable us to play our part in discipling others.

1. Personal relationship with God - directly impacts all of the other four contexts. Being alone with God. A place for Identity + Destiny + Truth
Jesus and the Father:
Mark 1:35 – Waking early to pray
Luke 6:12 – Before calling the 12
John 5:19 – Jesus only does what he sees the Father doing

2. Prayer Partners - deepest, transparent friendships; marriage. Complete openness in the closest friendships.
A place for Vulnerability + Safety + Intimacy
Jesus and the three:
Luke 9:28-36 – The Transfiguration
Mark 10:35-45 – James and John’s request
Matthew 26:36-38 – Jesus looks for prayer support during Gethsemane

3. Small Groups - popular in many churches. A group of 3-12. Revealing private information. A place for Support + Challenge + Closeness
Jesus and the 12:
John 13 – Washing the disciples feet
Matthew 8:23-27 – Calming the storm
Mark 8:27-33 – The confession and rebuke of Peter

4. Missional Communities - missing in many churches. A group of 20-60 people with a mission vision, sharing life and growing together. A place for Community + Mission + Practice
Jesus and the 70:
Luke 10:1 – The 70 are sent out
Matthew 9:9-13 – Call and response of Matthew
Luke 19 – The part at the home of Zacchaeus

5. Public Gatherings - Sunday gatherings are the most common size of church gathering – gatherings in our 100s+. A place for Worship + Encounter + Testimonies + Teaching
Jesus and the crowds:
Matthew 5:1-2 – Sermon on the Mount
John 6:1-2 – Feeding of the 5,000
Mark 6:34 – Jesus has compassion for the shepherd-less