GMI - Momentum - Issue 1/July 2012

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MOMENTUM ENCOURAGING TO WORSHIP | WALK | WITNESS

July 2012 | Issue 1

COVER STORY

Discipleship a Biblical mandate

IN

AU IS GU SU R E AL

Issue Focus: Discipleship


july 2012

| opening lines

Welcome to the launch of the new e-magazine, “Momentum –

G M I ’s V i s i o n

Looking Beyond” from the GMI family of churches & ministries. For a long time, it was in my heart to start a magazine for GMI

It is the dream of a place where the hurting, the depressed, the frustrated, and the confused can find love, acceptance, help, hope, forgiveness, guidance and encouragement. It is the dream of sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ with hundreds of thousands of residents in and around Mumbai

members. My main goal was that everyone, right from the pastor to the person at the grass root level, had the opportunity to receive the same degree of understanding of the core values, beliefs and practices of GMI. The goal was to ensure that we grow up as one family, having the same genes and that there is no disconnect. Now this dream seems possible through this e- magazine. We have been

It is the dream of welcoming 10,000 members into the fellowship of our church family-loving, learning, laughing and living in harmony together.

blessed with people of high calibre who can share their insights with

It is the dream of developing people to spiritual maturity through discipling and bible studies, small groups, seminars, retreats and a Bible school for our members.

theme of “Discipleship” and I trust you will enjoy reading all the

It is the dream of equipping every believer for a significant ministry by helping them discover gifts and talents God gave them.

the rest of us. This magazine will be home produced and therefore, relevant to our Asian mind set. The first issue is dedicated to the articles. We have created a National Service Team to serve us as facilitators. We still have many challenges ahead. The biggest one is getting this magazine translated into other languages for the benefit of all our

It is the dream of sending our members on short- term mission projects and as missionaries & church workers into major cities of India, to different states within India, to our neighboring countries and ultimately to other nations of the world. It is the dream of planting daughterchurches in every local language.

churches. Not everyone is connected to the internet so we may

It is the dream of becoming “Salt and light” in the community, thereby influencing every sphere around us with the Kingdom values, namely sphere of families, education, judiciary, arts & entertainment, Media, politics, business, industry, economics, social services, etc.

So do pray that this dream become a reality.

have to print hard copies of the same. So the second challenge is getting it printed. The third one is the need for resources to do all this.

Stanley Mehta

Stanley Mehta is the overseer of Gateway Ministries international. He loves training and conducting seminars on family, parenting and finance. He is married to Esme, and they have 2 daughters who are married and a son who is 20 years old and they also have one grandson.


july 2012

| contents

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cover story

Discipleship : A Biblical Mandate Stanley Mehta

Momentum is published in India by the Gateway Ministries family of churches, for circulation among members. Subscription free. Chief Editor Mohan Varghese Editorial Team Stanley Mehta David Selvan Editorial Consultants Anand Mahadevan Shobha Sreekumaran

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Opening Lines Stanley Mehta Editorial Mohan Varghese

columns 5

Learning to open up Anand Mahadevan

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Five things I have learnt David Selvan

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Discipling Couples Joemon Joseph

Published by Gateway Ministries International

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Excellence At The Work Place Mobis Philipose

Belapur Railway Station Complex Tower no. 10, CBD, Navi Mumbai400 614 Maharashtra, India Telephone: +91- 2222150654 / 22189036 Email: momentum.gmi@gmail.com

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Discipleship And Sexuality Rajesh Mathew

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Views in Discipleship Daniel Theophilus

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FAQs on Discipleship Stanley Mehta

Design & Production Philipose Vaidyar

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture references are taken from the New International Version of the Bible.

feature

Articles featured in Momentum

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Antioch Training Center

and not necessarily those of Momentum or GMI family of churches - Editor

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Sahaara Society

5 Learning To Open Up Anand Mahadevan

11 Discipling Couples Joemon Joseph

14 Views in Discipleship Daniel Theophilus

15 Sahaara Society Gifting Dreams


july 2012

| editorial

“ If the foundations are crumbling, what can the righteous do?

Times are changing. We live in an era faced with many new challenges. World views, beliefs, relationships, established practices are all changing or eroding and the very foundations of society are also being threatened. Things that were once thought sacred or considered taboo a few decades back are now forgotten in the new morality of postmodernism which has no absolutes for right and wrong Has this shift in values and priorities made us better humans? Definitely not. Today we see the harsh, yet sobering reality of broken lives, breakdown of family values and the tragic consequences of “doing your own thing” If the foundations are crumbling what can the righteous do? (Psalm 11:3) Anything of lasting value needs a good foundation to both survive and thrive amidst the pressures of our post-modern era. It is with this in view that Stanley Mehta has decided to set a right benchmark in this

inaugural issue of what really defines GMI. The core value is discipleship. This issue will give you an insight into how this value has helped to develop a generation of men and women who can be counted upon to build on strong Biblical foundations. Starting with the Mandate on Discipleship and illustrative articles, real life stories and the FAQ that follow, this issue will showcase the importance that discipleship plays in moulding lives to serve the Kingdom of God We also have a report on what is happening in Sahara and an informative write up on why every young person should make ATC a part of their future plans. Happy reading and please let us have your valuable feedback so we can make Momentum a magazine that serves the needs of the GMI family of churches. Mohan Varghese

back, r feed u o y have let us e UM a s a Ple MENT O M make s of e can e need so w h t s ve t ser e tha n i hes. z a g ma churc f o amily MI f the G Mohan Varghese pastors the Grace Tabernacle Ministries and oversees their churches. He is married to Sareeta and have three sons Adarsh, Ashok and Alex, the eldest is married to Tiqvah-El and they have a daughter Mireya.

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july 2012

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“Come, follow me”, Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”

Discipleship : Learning to open up by Anand Mahadevan

Discipleship was an alien concept to us when we first came to Mumbai and became a part of Bombay Baptist Church, about seven years ago. In my walk with Jesus Christ earlier, I had received wonderful advice from many pastors, elders, cell leaders, brothers and sisters. But I had never opened myself to a full-fledged discipleship relationship. Things changed soon after when Pastor Joemon Joseph gently led me into a disciple relationship with him. Since then, my wife Ajitha and I have been blessed by the enormous input Joe and his wife, Sunitha have sown into our lives. As we look back, we can see transformation in every area that we have opened up in discipleship, be it marriage, parenting, work, finances, ministry and of course, our walk with God. Was it easy to open up our lives to them? The short answer to that question – yes, it was, because they led us gently and gradually. And the long answer to the same question - there were two parts to the process. First, there were areas we asked for their help and guidance. Second, there were areas

they challenged and corrected us. The first was easier to accept than the second! But as we look back, it is clear we have been more blessed in the areas they took the initiative to guide and correct us than in the areas we asked for help! That’s the first lesson we learnt – we need to be open to both parts of the process. Discipleship is not a” band-aid” type “quick- fix” that I seek every time I am bruised by life. It is, on the contrary, a long-term, whole-life package for good times and hard. And it is Christ Himself, who intended discipleship to be like this; not just our disciplers. This realisation helped us to open up. The first step of committing ourselves to discipleship was the most important. This was a step in faith, not by sight. This decision was based not just in the trust we placed on our disciplers; but greater still, it was our faith in Christ that helped us take the plunge. The subsequent steps were all surprisingly easy. Everything just flowed smoothly from the first act of commitment.

The second learning was to accept correction. Joe and Sunitha gave us plenty of that – and it was all in love and always very gently, but also in truth. More recently, the real key that has helped us open up is a deeper realisation and application of the fullness of the Gospel. I am able to stand before God not on the strength of my ‘good’ performance, but on the strength of Christ’s ‘perfect’ performance on my behalf. As this truth, began to sink into our hearts every day, the need to present a ‘good image’ of our selves began to diminish. Hesitation to face our failings went away. We no longer have any need to hide. Ultimately, it is the Gospel and the good news of our acceptance before God that has really helped us to open up in discipleship. Anand Mahadevan has been a follower of Jesus Christ since 1993 and a business journalist since 1994 and he works currently in ET as features editor. He is married to Ajitha and they have two children. They are part of Bombay Baptist Church, Colaba.

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july 2012

| cover story

“Come, follow me”, Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”

Discipleship : A Biblical Mandate by Stanley Mehta

One of the core values of Gateway Ministries is that of Discipleship. But is it Biblical? Is it something that comes from the Indian history of ‘Gurushishya’ system? Did Jesus practice it? Did his followers embrace it? Is it only for the days of the NT in the first Century or is it still valid for us today? We discover that the word ‘disciple’ (or its derivatives) is used 282 times in the Bible. It is absolutely Biblical.

The ministry of Jesus began with him recruiting disciples. Mark 1:16-20 “As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. Come, follow me, Jesus said, and I will make you fishers of men. At once they left their nets and followed Him. When He had gone a little farther, He saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. Without delay He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed Him.” It is interesting to note that He did not call them at the end of His ministry, but right at the beginning of the ministry (as

in Mark chapter 1 and not in chapter 16). He discipled them for mission. Mark 3:14, 15 “He appointed twelve— designating them apostles— that they might be with him and that he might send them out to preach and to have authority to drive out demons.

Amidst all the different methods of church growth, the most reliable method seems to be that of Discipleship He discipled them, so that they would be like him in character. Luke 6:40 “A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.” The world also noticed their characteristics by their association with Jesus as in Acts 4: 13 “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realised that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” And ultimately he commissioned them to make disciples as mentioned in Mathew 28:19,20 “Therefore go and

make disciples of all nations, baptising 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.” This implies that “making disciples” is at the heart of Jesus’ command. He is not asking us to ‘make converts, or ‘make believers’. It is not “decision-making’ but ‘disciplemaking’ that we are called to. So the disciples in the New Testament kept recruiting other disciples. For example Paul was hardly a new believer in Damascus and when he created a storm by preaching about Jesus, he was marked for assassination. It was Paul’s disciples who let him down in basket over the wall to let him escape. (Acts 9:22-25) Paul instructed Timothy that the way forward was to keep recruiting disciples . 2 Timothy 2: 1, 2 “You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses - entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”

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So here was Paul asking his own disciple Timothy to recruit faithful men to transmit what was taught to him, who in turn would in the future be able to transfer it to the next generation of disciples. This is a plan for four generations.

and peace for those who have been trained by it.”

Discipleship between two people is for a limited period, but relationship between them may be for life. Jesus said initially, ‘Come’, but after 3 years He said to His disciples, ‘Go, and make disciples...’ He did not lock them up into a permanent servitude.

Discipleship is purely relational. Paul refers to Timothy as ‘my son’. It should not be reduced to a program, system, or a method. It will fail. Of all the different methods of church growth, the most reliable method seems to be that of Discipleship. It is not for producing ‘clones’, because discipleship does not limit the disciple’s creativity or ignore his gift mix. But through discipleship the core values of the vision are transmitted and the DNA of the discipler is successfully passed on. Discipleship is for honing the character, focusing on mission and for polishing the skills of the disciple. Associated with the word ‘disciple’ is the word ‘discipline’. Hebrews 12:11 “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness

A good disciple in the long run demonstrates love, obedience and good works. The benefits of discipleship is that it results in freedom from all that entangles the person being discipled. It gives friendship and family to the person. And he now enjoys the fulfillment in function, fruitfulness in ministry and focus in mission. He will see the blossoming of the potential that lay latent until now.

disciple also has the possibility of carrying a double portion of anointing of his discipler. But discipleship comes at a price. It requires sacrifice and self-denial. Jesus said in Luke 9:23 “Then He said to them all: If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” The disciple has no guarantee of security (Luke 9:57,58), has to maintain the priority of kingdom over everything else (Matthew 6:33); has to be singleminded (Luke : 61,62); and develop intimacy with Jesus above all other relationships (Matthew12:46-50; Luke 14:25-27). A careful observation within GMI will reveal that, the churches that are planted by those who were discipled as opposed to those who were not. Those who were discipled do not need supervision. They love being accountable. The members have the same genes as the parent church. The new church members hear the same sound, whether it is from the local pastor or from those overseeing them. It’s time we looked for restoration of discipleship among all the GMI churches. I trust that all our existing leaders would embrace it because it is absolutely biblical.”

Like Elisha who received a double portion from his master Elijah, the

I defy you to read the life of any saint that has ever adorned the life of the Church without seeing at once that the greatest characteristic in the life of that saint was discipline and order. Invariably it is the universal characteristic of all the outstanding men and women of God | Unknown If you have not chosen the Kingdom of God first, it will in the end make no difference what you have chosen instead | William Law At the back of it there lies the central citadel of obstinacy: I will not give up my right to myself--the thing God intends you to give up if ever you are going to be a disciple of Jesus Christ | Oswald Chambers Nothing disciplines the inordinate desires of the flesh like service, and nothing transforms the desires of the flesh like serving in hiddenness. The flesh whines against service but it screams against hidden service. It strains and pulls for honor and recognition | Richard Foster

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july 2012

| column

“ Without discipling I would have remained a crude young man, with zeal for the Lord, but lost in the world still searching for meaning in life. ”

Discipleship: Five things I have learnt by David Selvan

A young man was going galloping on a horse. An elderly man stopped him and asked where he was going. Replied the young man, “Sir don’t stop me. My heart is brave, my horse is fast, my sword is sharp and I am going for the war”. Again the elderly man, enquired. “Son... stop... stop...Where are going”? Replied the young man, “Sir, please don’t stop me. My heart is brave, my horse is fast, my sword is sharp and I am going for the war”. The elderly whispered, “Son..Sorry..The war is in the north and you are headed south”. ‘It is not good to have zeal without knowledge nor be hasty and miss the way.’ Proverbs. 19:2 30 years ago I arrived in BBC like this young man, zealous to serve the Lord without right knowledge heading in the wrong direction. Through loving and caring discipleship, I was helped to head towards the right, fruitful direction. I wish to share 5 areas where discipleship has impacted my life.

Freedom

Friendship and Family

“......So if the Son sets you free you will be free indeed” John 8:34-36

“God sets the lonely in the family .......” Psalms 68:5

Freedom is not free to do what I want to, but to do what I am created to do. At age 17 I left home. My faith and convictions began to erode during the first four years of my life in the Indian Navy, being away from a godly home and fellowship. I was afraid to come close to people in authority fearing that my freedom would be curtailed.

I was twenty when I was posted to Bombay after the training in the Indian Navy. I missed my home. I was lost without friends and family. I was shy, fearful and nervous to meet people in the church.

For a brief period, my love for music got me involved with a music band and bad company, led me away from God. I was on the edge of falling into a sinful lifestyle and its consequences. My dual lifestyles continued to trouble me, until one day I decided to talk it over with Pastor Stanley. I feared that I would be watched and my life would be controlled. On the contrary, I was given much help, encouragement, guidance and prayer support, till I was free from such entanglements. I discovered that there was safety and progress in a discipling relationship. I found a place to belong and to grow under a newly defined freedom.

In order to avoid people, I would come to the church service five minutes late, sit at the last bench and leave five minutes early. I wouldn’t even dare to stand in the bus stop opposite to BBC, Colaba. My desire to find help forced me to attend a Tuesday prayer meeting at the pastor’s home. The pastor and cell members welcomed me and I felt at home. Following Sunday, I was invited to the pastor’s house for lunch which turned out to be the beginning of a new journey of discovery of life in God. I became a part of the family. I found a home to belong. I had a place to unwind. I had a shoulder to weep. I had a live class room to learn. When I began my own home I could draw reference for many aspects of my own family from the exposure I had in my mentor’s home. Some were taught, while others, I caught.

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Fulfilment in Function

Fulfilment in Ministry

“Come, follow me,” Jesus said and I will make you fishers of men. Mark 1:17

“ you did not choose me but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit – fruit that will last”... John. 15:16

The purpose of discipleship is to prepare us for a God designed functional purpose for our life. Vic Gledhill taught us that there are two destinies in life, one the eternal destiny and the other functional destiny. The former is to do with our eternal home in heaven and the latter to do with our fruitful, functional life on earth. Though I had the desire and zeal to serve the Lord, I had limited skill. I wouldn’t even dare to give thanks for the food. I would disappear from the meals table pretending to wash my hands in order to avoid being picked by the pastor to pray for the food. I would do all kinds of practical work, but was scared to venture into any public speaking, prayer or any function that would demand facing people.

Though I knew I had the call of God to serve Him, I was not sure of my gifting. The teaching “ be faithful in little and more will be given” was repeatedly taught to us. That revelation helped me a lot in staying faithful in whatever role was given to me. I was sent to Coonoor in 1999. After having spent many years in Bombay, coming to Coonoor was a challenge. We had our first baptism service within 10 months of our arrival at Coonoor. Nine people were baptised, four being from a non Christian back ground. That came as a big boost for me and my wife Debra in our ministry journey. Nearly fifteen years of discipling in Bombay began to bear fruit in our life in Coonoor. Praise God Fatherhood

Stanley gave me many opportunities to use my ministry skills. He would take me with him to prayer meetings, bible studies and house visiting. I remember accompanying him to the Students’ YMCA at Grant Road and letting me play the guitar while he would lead the group in singing. Gradually, he made me play and lead in singing. He made me read the scripture portion and gradually, made me share a few thoughts during bible study and eventually, leading bible studies. I was 22 when I preached my first sermon in BBC, Colaba. I received appreciation from many people but I was not satisfied till I could hear what my mentor had to say. Stanley gave me a long list of merits and gave me two things to correct. One was to do with my mannerism and another to do with my attitude and posture. Even now, I remember those tips while I preach. I was given ample opportunities to experiment my gifting. I failed many times, but with encouragement and gentle correction, I was able to grow and find fulfilment in my function.

“Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.” I Corinthians. 4:15 I struggled a lot in the area of rejection. I manifested most of the symptoms of a rejected person. Without much patience, love, grace and skill, it is highly laborious to nurture people with deep rooted rejection. I would get depressed easily. I constantly looked for affirmations, and appreciations. Any correction meant rejection for me. I craved for an exclusive place in any relationship. Anyone who appeared better than me was a threat to me. With consistent love, teaching, prayer and encouragement my mentor helped me come out of these deep problems in my life. Vic Gledhill always challenged me to be a Manly Man. He explained to me the difference between mothering and fathering and challenged me to embrace Fathering. Without discipling I would have remained a crude young man with zeal for the Lord, but lost in the world still searching for meaning in life. I thank and praise God for godly men who laboured in my life to bring forth much, good and lasting fruit for God.

David Selvan has been associated with GMI since 1981. Has been pastor of Union Church, Coonoor for the last 13 years. He is married to Debra and they have two daughters Anna, Arpana and a son Jonathan. Anna is married to Kavindran.

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july 2012

| feature

Antioch Training Center Antioch Training Center (ATC) is GMI’s Bible training school committed to holistic growth and development of men and women through discipleship, to make them faithful stewards of God’s Kingdom, equipped to serve in the church, on the mission field and in society.

of God, Children and youth ministry, Christian and His work, Christian Home, Social & Mission Awareness, Homiletics, Evangelism, Cults and Isms, Study of the Holy Spirit, Basis of Ministry, Study of end times, Sanctification, Apologetics, Gospels & Epistles and more.

Activities: ATC has well defined curriculum integrated with field work which provide unique opportunities to apply the things that are taught and thus gain “handson” work experience .

Our vision: By 2020 our churches will have a sizeable number of Believers who are ATC trained and well equipped to be church planters and leaders in the society. ATC announces the commencement of the 18th Batch on 01 July 2012.

How we achieve our mission: By helping to build and strengthen character, values and commitment through personal and community spiritual disciplines, essential to the education process. By providing Bible centric, systematic training, designed to enrich a student’s faith and effectiveness in relating to our present pluralistic society. By motivating and training students to advance the growth and mission of the church, by providing regular and meaningful ministry opportunities geared towards church planting and service to the poor.

The curriculum provides ample scope for a variety of team activities scheduled during the course like fun evenings, barbeque nights, outings, field trips and exposure trips etc. Subjects included: Leadership, Study of the Cross and Christ. Discipleship, Church Planting, Bible Survey, Church History, Kingdom

For more information, please write to: The Dean, Antioch Training Centre 175 S B Singh Road Opp. Colaba P.O. Mumbai 400 005 India

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july 2012

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Discipling Couples by Joemon Joseph

Sunitha and I got married when we both were 24. The factor of romance was high, but the maturity factor was low. Each week was filled with interpersonal conflicts which we found difficult to resolve. Very soon we found ourselves meeting our pastor every week after the Sunday service. It worked!

relationships but God restores us and uses those journeys to help others. As we have been helped, we have helped others. Some of our learning’s in this regard are: 1) Marriage is a journey and couples need periodic input, feedback and a sounding board. Be available!

9) Learn from them and allow them to challenge you. It’s a mutual learning experience. Be willing to receive as you work together on your church vision.

My wife grew up in a hospital campus; she was the only non-medico person in an entire family of doctors. Nevertheless, she was also no less than a doctor. So guess what! Whenever I would fall sick, she would ask me to go to a hospital. Having grown up all my life in Mumbai, I have always gone to the doctor down the road. I didn’t feel the need to ever check his medical credentials. My explanations to my wife was that we needed to visit the hospital for only major surgeries, and not for every ache and pain. This was enough sparks for the fire. The issue seemed trivial, but we had major fireworks. As we met with our mentors, we began to understand how our upbringing played a role in our relationship. We realized that there was a need for both of us to ‘give’ and ‘take’.

2) Discipling can only happen in the context of relationship. Build a loving and sacrificial relationship with them.

10) Pray and release them towards greater things. That was the model of Jesus and we can be secure in that.

3) Truth should be spoken, but in love. This will not only build them up but will strengthen your friendship with them.

In the last 15 years of relating to people I have realized that genuine sacrificial love is what builds people.

4) Input and advice should be given to both spouses. No one is a Mr. Perfect or a Mrs. Perfect - both need to take responsibility to work things out;.

That’s what Jesus said, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” John 15:12-13

Slowly we began to understand each other better, working together became a joy and we began to realize what God had called us for. This helped us to empathize with couples with different struggles. The enemy tries to tear apart our

8) As we see God working in them, we can help them to walk in the purposes of God. Remember it is not about fitting them into our ministry department.

5) Homework after every session is important. The growth of the relationship depends on how serious they are in applying the truth. 6) You cannot be the only help that they should receive. Expose them to various books, messages, seminars and courses on marriage. We will never know when revelation would strike. 7) The focus is not problem-solving, but releasing the potential in them. Give them opportunities to function and grow in their ministry. Appreciate their strengths and pray for them.

Joemon Joseph pastors the Bombay Baptist Church at Colaba and oversees other churches in India and overseas. He is married to Sunitha and they have two sons and a daughter.

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july 2012

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Excellence at workplace by Mobis Philippouse

Growing up as a typical Indian boy who loved his cricket, I often thought to myself, ‘If only I didn’t have to take these periodic breaks to do my homework and study. If only Adam and Eve hadn’t eaten that fruit and sinned, life would have been so perfect. I could have spent most of my time playing. I would have just needed to pluck some fruit when I was hungry. Work wouldn’t have been part of man’s dictionary at all. Ah, why did they have to eat that fruit?’ (Gen 3.17-19)

God has provided a solution for a workrelated problem through my discipler.

But as the Bible says (1 Cor 13.11), “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put my childish ways behind me.” Having grown up in a traditional Christian household, I wasn’t aware of most of the Biblical truths about work.

The discipleship process helped me understand that God expects us to approach our work lives in similar fashion. The key Scripture reference here is Col 2:22-24, which teaches us in no uncertain terms that whatever work we do, and whatever we put our hands to, we are doing for the Lord.

Becoming part of the Gateway Ministries family brought a lot of clarity for me in this area, both because of the important truths that were taught from the pulpit, as well as through the process of discipleship.

Keeping God at the centre of our work will undoubtedly lead to excellence in the work that we do. Not only will we benefit from the valuable godly principles on work, but keeping God at the centre also means that we tap into God’s vast immeasurable resources. (Phil 4.19) The Bible is full of examples of people such as Isaac, Daniel and Nehemiah who did extremely well with respect to work, because “God’s favour was upon them.”(Gen 26.12-13, Dan 1.9, Neh 2.8b)

Santosh Johnny and Steven Abraham, apart from teaching Biblical truths about work, have modelled for me a hard work ethic - relying on God for solutions at work and expecting God’s favour at work. Besides, they were always interested in my work life, reaffirming the truth that God is interested in the work that I do. And there are numerous occasions when

Coming to the Biblical truths, work was instituted by God (Gen 2:15). Secondly, the Bible clearly teaches that God himself works (Gen 2.2) and He is keen to do good work. (Gen 1.4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25, 31) God evaluated his work after each stage of creation and assessed whether it was good work. Additionally, after a six-day work schedule, God rested.

While Col 3:22-24 exhorts us to work with all our heart, it also teaches us that we work for God. It’s important to remember this truth, because

excellence in the work place can potentially take us away from God. Excellence in the work place can give us a sense of significance and worth and so drive us to try to achieve more at work — a journey down that road will result in little or no time for God, family and other important plans God has for our lives. Santosh’s suggestion on starting work early and finishing within the prescribed time has helped me immensely over the years. In closing, I have found the examples of Daniel, who prayed three times every day (Dan 6.10), and Nehemiah, who prayed quick prayers in the middle of his work (Neh 2.4b), as good models to keep the focus on God. Praying in the middle of a work day will remind us that we work for Him, for the glory of His name. As the Psalmist aptly puts it, “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to Your name be the glory.” (Ps 115.1)

Mobis Philipose works with HT Media Ltd and pastors a GMI satellite church in Kandivali, Mumbai. He is married to Sushmita and they have a daughter

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july 2012

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Sexuality & Discipleship by Rajesh Mathew Discipleship is a process that is vital to There are many youth who sincerely desire for a Christian growth and maturity. It provides a secure environment through a strong trusting relationship to develop insight, provide right Biblical counsel and care for a young Christian over the course of his life. It builds godly values and character. As a teenager or a young adult, there are many habit patterns which one learns and nurtures. These could include sexual desires, which are often kept secret. Anything kept hidden can lead to sin. We often try to overcome these sexual impulses through our own efforts, but when we fail and yield to the temptation, guilt results leading to depression. But if we could confide in somebody who genuinely cares for our spiritual well being, someone who is like a spiritual father or a mother to us, then we have the support and help to overcome compulsive habits and destructive behavior patterns. In Paul’s epistle to Timothy he cautions “Flee the evil desires of youth...” Paul’s advice to Timothy with regard to lust, is a father’s counsel to a son who has decided to keep his life open to correction and counsel from his spiritual father. There are many youth, who desire a close walk with God. However, their spiritual growth get s stunted because they succumb so easily to sexual temptations. There was a young man in

our church who had struggled with the issue of masturbation. He tried everything, but could not get victory over this habit. Finally, one day he shared his problem with me. I was filled with fatherly love for this individual for the openness and trust he placed in me to understand and help him, and more so, to accept him with his short coming. I offered prayer for him and then started a relationship of mutual trust. I offered him all help by providing useful literature to read, encouragement and counsel. I demanded a high level of accountability from him by asking him to call me at any point when he felt the temptation of doing it. He was ready to be vulnerable. He called me at times when he struggled and I would pray for him on the phone. Praise be to God that he could come out of it in three months time. But it was an outcome of trust and openness from both ends to the extent of me sharing my own experience and struggle which I faced a few years back in the same issue. Here is a testimony which was forwarded by Pastor Vinny Varghese of ‘Sangathi The Fellowship’ about a couple from his church“I am part of Aadhar Naigaon Sangati and serve under pastor Vinny Varghese as one of the functional leaders of Sangathi The Fellowship, the fellowship is part of GMI group of churches. The incident happened around 3 years back in the year 2009. I was a leader, ministering the Word and leading in worship but I was living in sin and was

having sexual relationship with the girl I loved. I thought I had kept it a secret, but very soon I was found out. I thought of running away, hiding or going to my village. I was confused and came to my pastor for counsel. At this crucial time my Pastor personally guided me and I decided to follow in obedience, it was very tough initially but I learned to adjust. As I followed the instructions of our pastor, the hard things became easy and joyful. We went through the pre-marital course and decided to get married. The financial situation was bad, but Praise the Lord, by the support we received from our church family, we were able to have a decent wedding arranged. We were under the watchful and caring eyes of our pastors. For about one and half years we were under disciplinary action and did no ministry in the church, but subsequently, when the pastor saw the change, we were restored and today we are ministering and leading in the church. We believe that it is through discipleship that we have found our way back and we thank our pastor and GMI for the support given to us, and for the practice of discipleship.”

Rajesh Mathew works as an Electrical Supervisor in the Naval Dockyard at Mumbai and also oversees a group of Hindi churches of GMI. He is married to Lily and they are blessed with two daughters Rhea and Sanya.

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Views on Discipleship by Daniel Theophilus A young lad that I was – 10 years ago, I was very passionate about drumming, and also had all the foundations and biblical principals intact since I was from a very good Christian family. When I happened to meet this man (Ps.David Selvan) in my school, I found him quite interesting, and he in turn took interest in me and gave me a lot of attention and importance. At that chance encounter I was not aware that he would be the agent that God had sent to mould and shape me, and help me to discover my actual purpose in Christ. The last ten years have been an eventful journey. I must say that I have had both hard times and good times together. As an immature boy, many times I took the corrections and confrontations of my mentor in a negative sense, but soon God helped me see the positive side of it. Spiritually I was at cross roads like any other young, untrained person, having the passion to serve God, but not knowing where and how. In discipleship I learnt how to wait on God and understand what God has called me to, how to

discover my niche in ministry, and how to accept God’s will for my life. Indeed, discipleship has played a vital role in my life, and shaped me into who I am today. As I trace my journey over the last decade of my life, I have come a long way in every sphere of my life. I am grateful to God for having blessed me with this mentor. A mentor always grabs every opportunity to shape and build his disciple and tries to help me realize my potential to the fullest. My mentor has always wanted me to pursue excellence. At the end, ironically the disciple gets all the appreciation and not the mentor.

I should say that discipleship has played a pivotal role in my life and it has helped me to guide and correct those that God has entrusted to my care. Today we value discipleship as a family. I am now a husband, a father, a youth pastor and I run an orphanage, as well. Who I am today is truly an outcome of the discipleship process under my mentor, Pastor David Selvan, who was like a faithful shepherd, who took care of me in order to give an account to God (Heb 13:17).

My mentor was not just providing spiritual guidance, but he was a spiritual father figure for me. Behind every correction, confrontation, and guidance, I could clearly sense the father heart and the genuine love and care for the son. This in turn played an important role in my relationship building with my mentor and created a secure atmosphere for me to grow.

“In discipleship I learnt how to wait on God and understand what God has called me to, how to discover my niche in ministry, and how to accept God’s will for my life.”

Daniel Theophilus is the youth pastor of Union Church, Coonoor. He is married to Rohi and they have a son Josiah. They help his parents run an orphanage home in Coonoor & Ketti (D.M.C Home).

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Sahaara : Gifting Dreams A tryst with destiny

Imagine that you are blindfolded and you have to walk. The 7 million visually challenged people of India face this reality every day but are able to quell the challenge with a walking stick in their hand. Sahaara conducts a picnic every year for the visually challenged and approximately 50 visually challenged people from across the city attend the picnic. This picnic is a real fun and feasting time for the participants and also serves as the meeting place for them. This year, the picnic was organised at the Gorai beach. It was attended by 42 visually challenged people and 8 children.

The annual get together culminates with gifts being distributed to the visually challenged. As per the

assessment carried out during our visits to the centres, the key need of the people were walking sticks. Hence new walking sticks were distributed to each of the visually challenged people in attendance. There was a great joy among them as they received the sticks. One of them said, “Yesterday I lost my walking stick and I was wondering how I would survive in the city without one. Today God has answered my prayer and given me a new walking stick.� All sighted volunteers who had come to help in the picnic were visibly moved! Relationships built through Project Prakash have resulted in a group of ten to fifteen visually challenged people attending the Andheri church every Sunday. The foundation course, a series of 13 lessons on the basics of the Christian life, has been developed in the Braille language and it is a very pleasant sight to see the visually challenged opening up the huge Braille books and undergoing the foundation course. Sandeep Suresh Kirjat lost his sight due to sickness at the tender age of five years. He belonged to a single parent household, his mother being the sole guardian. He started attending the

church meeting and enrolled in the foundation course. As the lessons were being taught, Sandeep Suresh Kirjat was touched and the light of the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ shone in his heart and he voluntarily expressed the desire to undertake water baptism!

Much to our delight, he publicly testified along with his wife that they would unconditionally follow the Lord Jesus all their lives and went through the waters of baptism! He has been walking in the light ever since!

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FAQs on Discipleship Stanley Mehta 1. What attitudes will slow down the process of discipleship? Prejudices (traditional thoughts or bias towards a routine way of thinking – the Pharisees fitted wonderfully into this category, thereby excluding themselves from understanding Jesus teaching) Preconceived ideas (that lead to responses like “I already know that”, thereby excluding us from the learning or discipleship process) Assumption (thinking we know what was meant or required, without enquiring further and therefore failing to come up with what was really required or needed) Counter proposals (words like “I have a better idea” or “Wouldn’t it be better if ... ?”) 2. What attitude will speed up the process of discipleship? Being a good listener and a doer, coming with a view to learn, being accountable, being faithful, and being an imitator. One who observes and duplicates it. One who is willing to obey. One who is willing to take the initiative to open up. 3. What attitudes hinder discipleship? Being self-opinionated, having an egalitarian spirit (always arguing for equality, and therefore having difficulty in submitting), and reluctance to receive discipline or correction. 4. What are the extremes that a discipler should avoid? The discipler should never betray the disciple of what was shared with in confidence. Never use the earlier confession to his own advantage. He should not lock the disciple into a permenant servitude but be willing to release him into his own ministry in a few years’ time like Jesus did with his disciples. He must use scriptures to answer the questions raised and direct the disciple to Jesus and the scripture.

So that in course of time the disciple becomes well versed with hearing God and interpreting scriptures, because Jesus (the Logos) is the only mediator between God and man). In course of time the discipler must decrease and Jesus must increase in the life of the disciple. The disciple is never to be kept permanently dependent on the discipler. The followers are likely to “exalt” the discipler, but he must deflect the praise he receives giving glory to God and praising his own mentors. The discipler must not focus on his rights, privileges and power but must instead focus on his responsibility and servanthood. 5. What are the extremes that a disciple should avoid? The disciple must never betray his discipler of what was shared in confidence. The disciple must focus on his own responsibility and not become ambitious thinking of using discipleship as a short cut to position, power, privilege and full time ministry. He should not become dependent upon his discipler, or consider his discipler as a substitute for Jesus. The disciple must remember that positionally he is at par with his discipler, but functionally he may be subordinate to him for a period of time. Also a disciple may feel he has ‘arrived’ based on what he ‘knows’ but what he ‘knows’ may be far from what he has practiced. This is a deception many a disciple falls into. 6. How does discipleship get transmitted? Look at the stages of how Jesus did it. Stage 1: Jesus did it. Stage 2: Jesus did it, the disciples watched (Most miracles). Stage 3: Jesus did it with his disciples (Jesus prayed over the 5 loaves and 2 fishes but the disciples distributed the same, and it multiplied) Stage 4: The disciples did it while Jesus watched (When disciples went 2 by 2). Stage 5: The disciples did it (after Jesus had ascended to heaven)

7. How much does a disciple share with his discipler? As much as he would like to. It all depends on the comfort level of the relationship between the two of them. But he must make an attempt to live a life of openness and transparency. The more open he is, the more accountable he will be. And every area of his life will be spruced up. 1 John 1:7 says, “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” 8. Any other precautions in discipleship? Generally speaking, it is good to disciple a member of your own sex i.e. men and women should disciple women. Or a couple could disciple a couple. This may be overlooked on rare occasions and for a short period. 9. How often should a disciple meet his discipler? That has to do with the level of discipleship, and the time available. Some people are discipling a number of other people, in which case they will need to share their limited time with all the disciples and will not able to meet one particular disciple more frequently. In a church setting, with a brand new believer, it may be good to meet frequently as meeting him every alternate day initially. But after a month or two it could reduce to once a week. Eventually it could be once a month or even once in 3 months. 10. Can one terminate a discipling relationship? Of course they could do so for various reasons. If the disciple doesn’t implement what is told or doesn’t work on the homework given or does not respond to the suggesstions made, even after 3 or 4 attempts / chances, the discipler is free to terminate the discipling relationship. That would be

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wise stewardship of time. However, he could maintain a relationship, so as to keep the door open for a possible rekindling of discipleship. Another reason the discipling relationship can be terminated, is when the disciple has become like his master and the time has come to release him. Of course their relationship as friends or colabourers will never change. If the relationship between the discipler and disciple gets soured up, then they should put the discipleship on hold and instead first work on strengthening the relationship. 11. Are there any recommended resources for understanding discipleship better? Yes. The Lost Art of Disciple Making by Leroy Elms, The Disciple by Juan Carlos Ortiz, Discipleship published by Roots and Shoots, The Making of a Disciple by Keith Philip, DisciplesareMade,notBorn byWalterHenrichsen, Jesus: The Disciplemaker by Ada Lum.

12. What is the difference between mentoring and discipling? This is a common question. In a mentoring relationship the person who is doing the mentoring is a sort of sounding board. They are available every once in a while (not really doing life together) so the person being mentored can occasionally ask questions and the mentor gives suggestions but if the person being mentored doesn’t like it they don’t have to do it. There is no authority given over. In the discipleship model the authority of the one being discipled is voluntarily handed over to the one discipling and “as iron sharpens iron”, there are disagreements, sparks, abrasiveness, and the like. Your submission to your discipler gets tested when you are instructed in an area that you are not in agreement with him. Therefore, we encourage those being disciples, to humbly submit to the one who they have handed over their authority to; so long as they are following Jesus, and their instructions are founded in God’s Word.

13. Are all Christians called to disciple? Absolutely YES! Christ calls us all to make disciples (Matthew 28:16-20) and we see examples through-out scripture (Philippians3:17, Philippians 4:9, 2 Timothy 1:13, 3:10-11, 1 Cor 4:16-17, 11:1, 1 Thessalonians 1:5-7)

14. Should discipleship be one-toone? Not necessarily so. For accountability and for certain private issues, discipleship should be “one-on-one” basis. But for many other issues it could be one discipler and many disciples being discipled simultaneously (one-into-many). Most of the time, Jesus did that with his team of 12 disciples. Or it could be many discipling inputs into one disciple (many-intoone). However, in this many-into-one there is an advantage and a handicap. The advantage is that the disciple is now receiving input from various individuals and so he is not limited to the gifting of one individual. However, if the discipler is pastoral, and the disciple is prophetic, it would be preferable for that subject if he be discipled by another prophet. But on the other hand, the disciple may pickand- choose from a buffet menu, to suit his comfort zone and may not allow himself to be challenged into a deeper walk with God, choosing the path of least resistance.

Suggested Reading on Discipleship:

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MOMENTUM

JULY 2012

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