If you've been around churches for a while you'll find that there is a lot of discussion about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Some people have a good idea of what being a disciple means and others kind of scratch their head, scrunch up their face, and say, "I'm not sure what that means..." If that describes you, know that you’re not alone!
At The Alliance Church of Cheektowaga we define a disciple as:
A disciple is a student of Jesus Christ, who is submitting themselves to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, through the experience of relationship, through the development of biblical knowledge, and through effective service as part of the body of Christ.
In other words, we believe a disciple of Jesus Christ is someone who starts by being a believer in Christ, who becomes a student of Christ, to be an active part of the Body of Christ, for the purpose of building the Kingdom of Christ.
We do not believe that someone is a disciple of Christ just because they go to church, say a prayer, or read their Bible once in a while. We believe that a disciple is someone who is willing to roll up their sleeves and take their relationship with Christ seriously.
We've developed our WHAT and HOW around a desire to help people become mature disciples of Jesus Christ who help others become mature disciples of Jesus Christ.
Perhaps you have a religious history where you've depended on your church attendance (or membership), a "sinner's prayer" that you once said, or the Our Daily Bread that you read from time to time. We believe that all of these can be parts of the journey towards becoming a mature disciple of Christ, we'd like to introduce you to another way of experiencing your relationship with Jesus Christ: as His Disciple.
Some of the practical marks of a mature disciple are:
the voice of God speaking in your life.
concerted time in Bible reading and study.
books that help you develop a deep walk with Christ.
engaging with the Lord in prayer.
part of a healthy community of disciples.
engaging with those who are not yet part of the Kingdom of God to bring them
the great hope of the Gospel message.
someone who can disciple you - and finding someone who you can disciple.
gathering together with other believers to worship the King of Kings together.
Sometimes our church practices and programs help us on this journey. Sometimes our church practices and programs hinder us on this journey. At the Alliance Church of Cheektowaga we strive to be "program lite" and discipleship strong. We strive to develop deep relationships with the Lord and with each other, and allow those relationships to be the driving force for our discipleship development.
This means that we offer more than a Sunday morning worship service and Sunday school class. We strive to develop a culture where people are organically meeting with each other in Life Groups, as well as one-on-one to spend time in deeper study, prayer, encouragement, reflection, evangelism, and simply want to walk through life together as a body, a family, a church.
Does this sound like something new to you? I invite you to check us out. On the surface we may appear to be "just another church," with a Sunday morning worship service and small groups, but look beyond that level and you'll find mature disciples of Jesus Christ who are ready, willing, and able to come alongside of you and meet with you one-on-one for the purposes of helping you become a mature disciple of Jesus Christ who then helps other become mature disciples of Jesus Christ.