It’s a new year. For many, a new year marks a new beginning. People make New Years’ resolutions. Some begin new hobbies or commit to breaking old habits. For me, the new year provides an opportunity to assess and correct my alignment. I stop and ask, “Am I heading in the right direction?” I also ask, “Am I doing what is necessary to get where I desire to go?” Since my most important relationship is with God, and my greatest desire is to know Him and make Him known, I want to make sure I am on and walking (progressing) along the discipleship pathway.
A disciple is following Jesus, being changed by Jesus, and is committed to the mission of Jesus. Matthew records our shared mission with Christ:
“Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age’” (Matt 28:18-20).
We are to make disciples. Disciple making is entering into relationships to help people trust and follow Jesus, which includes the whole process from conversion (reach) through maturation (raise) and multiplication (release). Thus, Crosswinds’ strategy is to faithfully reach people with the love and message of Jesus Christ as they take the step to believe. To raise them to follow Christ as they discover what it means to belong to Him and His church, as well as become who they were created to be. As we release them to partner with God to bless others by advancing His kingdom. We desire to be disciple makers who, as disciples of Jesus, enter into relationships with others to help them trust and follow our Savior and Lord.
Crosswinds have developed a discipleship pathway that has benefited its “travelers” significantly. We believe the first and most important step on the pathway is one’s personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We have a yes box created to help believers develop a daily time alone with God (TAWG). Since we are created to do life with God and others, we have one-on-one discipleship groups that meet for an extended period every other week to look at God’s Word and do life together. Community happens more in circles than rows. Therefore, we have small groups of 8-10 people that meet every other week to pray, engage in a sermon-based study of God’s Word, and fellowship. We have service teams where we grow in Christ and community with one another as we live on mission through serving on a Crosswinds ministry team (on-campus) or with a Crosswinds mission partner (off-campus throughout our region). Lastly, we have our large gatherings that take place on Sunday mornings on our Canandaigua campus, through live streaming of these services, online throughout the week, and at our Hopewell campus, which meets at the Ontario County Jail. If you want more information on any of these opportunities, go to www.crosswinds.church or call the church office (585) 394-5857.
Jesus declared that He came to bring us abundant life (Jn 10:10). Jesus Himself provides the biblical definition of life – especially eternal life: “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (Jn 17:3). Interestingly, this definition makes no mention of length of days, health, prosperity, family, or occupation. As a matter of fact, the only thing it does mention is knowing God, which is key to real abundant life, which is spiritual abundance.
The Christian life revolves around, as Peter writes: “Growing in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pt 3:18). This teaches that the abundant life is a continual process of learning, practicing, and maturing, as well as failing, recovering, adjusting, enduring, and overcoming. So, when I ask, “Am I heading in the right direction?” I am really asking if I am growing in my relationship with God and others in making Him known. When I ask, “Am I doing what is necessary to get where I desire to go?” I am asking if I am participating in spiritual practices that assist me, by the Holy Spirit’s power and leading, to live on mission with Jesus. Let me encourage you to take some time to evaluate and position yourself rightly on the discipleship pathway. It is an exciting life-giving journey. Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)!