Being a Disciple
At First Alliance, being and making disciples is at our core. There is nothing more vital than this. It is who we are and what we do because of who Christ is and what He has instructed us to do:
Our desire is that every person who is a part of First Alliance Church grows as a biblical, loving, spirit-filled disciple becoming more like Christ.
Being a disciple is a lifelong journey that is both messy and incredibly important. Being a disciple is a normal expectation for a Christian. The Bible says a lot about who a disciple is, what a disciple does, and how to develop as a disciple.
For the sake of clarity, we see a disciple as:
One who is totally committed to following Christ, becoming like Him in supreme love for God, selfless love for others, and sacrificial love for the world.
Being a disciple of Jesus is a journey filled with next steps. Some we do together and some we do on our own. It is not just about what we know but how we apply and live it out together. It is a journey that is never too late to start.
And at the end of the day, it is disciples who make new disciples who love, know, & follow Jesus.
So, how do we grow as a disciple?
There are 3 elements essential to growing as a disciple. They are to Connect to Christ, Grow with Others, and Engage the World. We call this the Disciple-making Framework.
The Disciple-Making Framework isn’t a program or a process, but our construct for developing as disciples at First Alliance. It shapes the opportunities we offer and gives the context of what needs to be happening in our lives.
It’s not a linear process but elements that work together to foster spiritual growth. Only when all are happening do you find yourself in the “Sweet Spot of Spiritual Growth” - you’re growing as a disciple and the Core Competencies are evident in your daily life.
It’s our vertical relationship with God that begins with the Great Decision (John 3:16) of acknowledging Christ as Savior and surrendering to Him as Lord. It’s the placing of our faith in Him for salvation and forgiveness. It is the determination to live according to God’s Word as a true disciple of Jesus who worships and prays in spirit and truth. It is about following Christ and supremely loving Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength every single day.
It’s the horizontal relationship where we embrace our connection with other disciples and are an active part of a church in large & small contexts. We learn and grow with others in community, demonstrate the fruit of the Spirit, and live the Great Commandment (Matt. 22:36-40) via selfless Christ-like behavior expressed through the “one-anothers” of Scripture. It is the daily work of sanctification (holiness) as we grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus in mutual accountability.
It is the outward relationships that express the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20) as we minister practically to those with needs, love others as Jesus did, proclaim the good news of Christ, act with justice and mercy, teach, give, and are part of multiplying disciples. It means sacrificially engaging with time and resources locally and globally to bless our community, region, and world so we bring the kingdom of God to bear as the light of Christ by being the hands and feet of Jesus.
We are convinced all three elements must be present in each individual life and in our ministries for growth to happen. One or two isn't sufficient. Doing these things doesn't mean you are a disciple, but doing these things is the gateway to growing as a disciple. Practically speaking, we recommend joining with a smaller group of people in what we call a Discipling Community (the primary point of connection and discipleship at First Alliance), participating regularly in a worship service, and seeking to serve others with the gospel of Jesus.
How do we know you're growing as a disciple of Jesus Christ? When a disciple is in the Sweet Spot of Spiritual Growth, it is evidenced by the Core Competencies.
Discipleship is about choices.
The choice to connect, to grow, and to engage. To pursue something more. To be a disciple. To ask, "what's my next step?"