First Focus


A disciple is a follower, a learner, a student who does what they’ve been taught. In Jesus’ day, a rabbi or teacher was literally followed around by his disciples, who watched his life and teaching and sought to emulate him. Today, a disciple of Jesus is someone who walks after Jesus and obeys what He taught — someone who follows Jesus.

Your journey as a disciple and follower of Jesus begins when you repent and respond to His offer of salvation through faith, and then it continues throughout your life on this earth as you follow Him. And this journey doesn’t end until you die or Jesus returns. This is why I appreciate Eugene Peterson’s simple description of discipleship as “a long obedience in the same direction.” To be a disciple is to seek to obey the Lord with your whole life.

Discipleship is not a church program or even a series of classes. It’s not a checklist to complete or even a destination to reach. Instead it’s a lifelong direction — following after Jesus. And the goal of discipleship is not simply knowledge but obedience — a changed life that looks more and more like Jesus.

Throughout church history, the fundamental means for achieving this objective has been practicing the spiritual disciplines, which are those biblically prescribed activities that mark the spiritual life of a disciple. To help you grow as a follower of Jesus and practitioner of these disciplines, we have created a new class that will walk through nine fundamental disciplines: Bible study, memorization, prayer, fasting, giving, worship, service, evangelism, and disciple-making.

The Essential Disciplines class is intended for new believers, new church members, and any believer who wants to better understand why these disciplines matter and how to practice each. Two separate class times will be offered: Sunday mornings at 10:05AM beginning January 26 and Wednesday nights at 6:30PM beginning February 12. Choose the time that works better for you, and register online, and please let me know if you have any questions. And even if you won’t be able to join us for this class, I hope that we will all give renewed attention to growing knowledge, faith, and faithfulness through the practice of these disciplines.

— Josh Hall