Raising Christ-like believers in Church
There have been conversations here on the Ghana we desire, and we may say the Ghana we want. The Ghana God wants: The people who will make it happen!
The Ghana God wants: who are the people who will make it happen? The Ghana God wants: who are the people who can make it happen? Perhaps the biggest challenge facing the Church in Africa is populating the continent with “Resilient matured Christ-like disciples!”
Transformation Disciple-making model
The key question in our discussion is, “What are the key Biblical, Theological and Practical essentials for Transformation Disciple-making and Discipleship in Ghana?
We are thinking of aspects of Biblical, Theological and Practical essentials for building “resilient matured Christ-like Disciples” in the 21st Century Church in Ghana. We will discuss introductory aspects of Biblical Transformation Disciple-making and Discipleship model that works in Ghana:
- It imitates Christ's model.
- It captures the elements of the New Testament Early Church model
- It learns from the principles of the classic Disciple-making model of John Wesley.
- It is easily reproducible and can be used among literate Church members and oral learners in Africa. We keep the model simple (not simplistic). No aspect of it is rocket science.
- It harmonises with the communal life of Ghanaian culture. (Many Western models reflect their individualistic culture).
- It is absolutely transformationally focused. And aims to form the New Testament type “little Christs”. C.S Lewis has said, “the Church exists for nothing else but to draw men into Christ, to make them ‘little Christs’. If they are not doing that, all the cathedrals, clergy, missions, sermons, are simply a waste of time. God became man for no other purpose.”
- It ignites hope for the renewal and expansion of the Church in Ghana and beyond.
- It brings direct challenge to everyone, without exception, regarding the most fundamental step in the Transformation Disciple-making process- just as Jesus without winking His eyes told Arch-Bishop Nicodemus, “you must be Born Again”. The new birth is critical. This is where the true process of spiritual formation into Christ-likeness begins.
- It emphasises that the most important element in our Disciple-making and Discipleship process is our knowing God. We must know Christ better to be able to live better like Christ and to better make Him known.
The Ghana God Wants
The Ghana God wants will be realised when we have this country populated by believers who know the Biblical majestic Christ better, so deeply better that they will be able to live like Christ better, in regular consistent lifestyles of godliness with integrity, into every area of human life.
In fact, we will go a step further to say, we will even realise a more glorious Africa that God wants, if both those who live on the continent are authentic Christ-like people; and those who do business with us in Africa are authentic Christ-like people too.
Let me explain: In Ghana, our farms and family houses are literally built on land of gold and yet there is severe poverty, even abject poverty.
The Government in Ghana has just run to the IMF for Economic rescue for the 17th time since independence. But there is the huge regular, consistent siphoning of our God-given wealth and resources to benefit the West and the Eastern World Economic powers!
And we may very much note that for Ghana to realise her renaissance and the Ghana God wants, we need healthy partnership between Ghanaian and the Europeans in our Global Village. Dr. Aggrey of Ghana talks about excellent music when we carefully play both the black and the white keys on the piano.
We need to hear the best music in the economies and life of the people of Ghana. Trade and other partnerships between Ghana and the West and East Economic powers must be healthy business relationships.
God’s goodness to Ghana
Let’s celebrate God’s goodness to Ghana: Indeed, the Church in Africa and for that matter, Ghana is a very fast-growing Church. David Shank says, "Today Africa holds without rival, the distinction of being the place where the largest number of people moved into the Christian stream of history in the shortest amount of time".
Andrew Walls, eminent and internationally respected Missiologist, affirms that, "within the last Century there has been a massive southward shift of the center of gravity of the Christian world, so that the representative Christian lands now appear to be in Sub-Saharan Africa, Latin America, and other parts of the Southern continents.
This means that African Christian Theology and Third World theology is now likely to be Representative Christian Theology in the 21st Century." The Church in Africa is expected to be a leader in defining and shaping World Christianity in the 21st Century.
However, this good story comes with a challenge: Serah Wambera has remarked that "The African Church is commonly referred to as 'a mile long and an inch deep'.
Although this statement arouses negative emotions among many African Church leaders, it is largely true.
The growth of the Church in Africa will become wasted if proper effective discipleship is not applied".
Transformation Disciple-making and Discipleship in Ghana
Our conversation is on Transformation Disciple-making and Discipleship. The words “Disciple-making” and “Discipleship” mean so many things to so many people. And so, we want to have a common understanding of Disciple-making and Discipleship. Who is a true disciple of Jesus? What is Discipleship? We turn to the Bible to answer this, as we briefly reflect on Christ the Supreme Disciple-maker.
We have four points here:
First, Christ's compelling invitation to Discipleship. He concentrates His ministry on Disciple-making and Discipleship.
Second, Christ commissions His disciples to make disciples. (Matthew 28:16-20 ESV)
Third, Christ tells us the cost of Discipleship. (Luke 14:27 NIV)
Fourth, Christ confirms that Disciple-making is Mission Possible. (Revelation 7:9 NIV)
(The author is a consultant in authentic Christian Spirituality and Discipleship and former CEO of Scripture Union)