Gospel-Centered Discipleship

By the team at GCD

Over the coming months, Western’s Transformed blog will be partnering with Gospel-Centered Discipleship (GCD). This will involve Transformed publishing a number of posts curated by GCD, as well as GCD cross-posting select Transformed content. In light of this, today’s post includes a brief introduction to GCD.

You may have noticed that there are a lot of resources available for theological education, church planting, and missional church, but not for discipleship. We noticed too, so we started GCD to address the need for reliable resources on a whole range of discipleship issues. We seek to address these discipleship issues through the nexus of gospel, mission, and community.

First, we want everything we say about discipleship to be gospel-centered. When we use the term “gospel-centered,” we aren’t trying to divide Christians into camps, but to promote a way of following Jesus that is centered on the gospel of grace. While all disciples of Jesus believe the gospel is central to Christianity, we often live as if religious rules or spiritual license actually form the center of discipleship.

Jesus calls us to displace those things and replace them with the gospel. We’re meant to apply the benefits of the gospel to our lives every day, not to merely bank on them for a single instance of “being saved.” A gospel-centered disciple returns to the gospel over and over again, to receive, apply, and spread God’s forgiveness and grace into every aspect of life.

Second, we want the way we address discipleship issues to have the missio Dei in mind. We don’t want our readers to be cul-de-sac Christians. We don’t face discipleship struggles outside of our collective mission to make disciples. This mission boils down to the command to love God and to love our neighbors as ourselves. It is a demonstration of love in word and deed. We don’t just preach at people to be saved. We are showing with our hearts and hands what being captivated by the love of Jesus looks like in everyday life. Mission is not an option for followers of Jesus, or something reserved for “super-spiritual or radical Christians”; mission is for everybody! The mission of making disciples who make good culture, redeem social ill, and share a whole gospel is the joy and responsibility of every Christian.

We also want to locate these issues in the context of community. Mission isn’t us as the superhero saving the day. It is a community maturing together as we follow the One True Hero, Jesus Christ. Our founder Jonathan Dodson once said, “We live together because we are conceived together, in Christ. As a result, every Christian upon conversion is called into God’s community. There are no exceptions. No one is left out. Everyone has a place in the people of God.” Christian community is one of consistent and mutual extension of grace, truth, faith, hope, and love not for the sake of receiving it but from the joy of giving. Within this familial community, each of the “one another commands” makes sense:

  • Comfort one another (2 Cor. 13:11)
  • Agree with one another (2 Cor. 13:11)
  • Live in peace with one another (2 Cor. 13:11)
  • Greet one another (2 Cor. 13:11)
  • Bear one another’s burdens—which in context refers to confronting sin and being burdened for the sinful brother (Gal. 6:2)
  • Bear with one another (Eph. 4:2)
  • Encourage one another (1 Thess. 5:11)
  • Build one another up (1 Thess. 5:11)
  • Do not grumble against one another (James 5:9)
  • Do not speak evil against one another (James 4:11)

Through these “one-another’s” we become family in experience. These commands are the process and action toward an authentic life of community where people care for one another.

We strive to accomplish our mission as a resource for the church by writing articles and publishing small books that pack a punch. These resource deal with everyday issues like friendship, missional communities, raising children, presence in home, work, third places, and preaching.

Finally, we wanted to share a few ways in which GCD has been growing:

We’ve been greatly blessed by the ministry at Western Seminary. More than a few of our staff and writers have been discipled there, and so we’re glad for the opportunity to share fruit of that labor with you through the work God is doing at GCD. We hope the Lord continues to bless both ministries as we seek to come alongside church to offer resources to make, mature, and multiply disciples.