Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another. – Proverbs 27:17
When I was a teenager taking road trips with my parents, I often had the privilege of sitting in the passenger’s seat to help with navigation. There were not yet cell phone navigation systems, and so I oftentimes found myself holding the ginormous Rand McNally maps to keep up with where we were and to figure out and communicate to the driver the next turn that would ultimately get us to our destination. When taking a road trip, even before taking the first turn out of the driveway, someone should look at the map. They’ve likely studied it before—anticipating the route, the miles that will be covered, the stops they want to make. But no matter how many times you’ve looked at it before, you continue checking the map. It serves as a guide to let you know you’re progressing and continuing on the right path.
But how do we orient ourselves in our walk with God? There are two primary ways: Time with God and time with other christians.
Time with God
Orienting ourselves correctly begins with a right relationship with God. Through his Word, He confronts us with His holiness, brings us to a knowledge of our sinfulness, and by faith, God brings about salvation through Jesus Christ This work is accomplished by the working of the Holy Spirit and can only happen through God’s power. The regular pursuit of God’s presence and power is something that must be owned first as individuals.
Time with Others
The second way that we orient ourselves in our walk with God is by pursuing God in community with others. As we live out the gospel in community with one another, it is vital that we are regularly cultivating the kind of friendships that orient us to where we are and push us forward in our faith. Relationships and conversations have the ability to reveal ways that we are not yet who God is shaping us to become and then call us up to who God is transforming us to be. The Holy Spirit has been using relationships and conversations to shape His body since the church began. We give and receive the message of the gospel to one another. We apply the scriptures speaking truth to one another. We pray for one another. We spend time sharing life with one another, and the sum of these things is that we are living life close enough that we see and celebrate the work of God in the lives of others. There is progress that naturally comes about when sharing time and space.
All of us want to be invested in and mentored; we also want mutual relationships of disclosure, accountability, and transparency. We were made for these kinds of relationships where we are known and loved, that point us toward what we were ultimately made for, both the image that we bear of our Creator and the purposes that we are called to. God has ordained for these kinds of relationships to be transformative. Some friendships and the conversations that result from them are used to pour fertilizer on our spiritual growth. The best conversations cover the right spaces of our lives and create patterns of confession and repentance and opportunities to speak and believe the gospel.
The Disciple Map
The Disciple Map is a conversational guide to help you think rightly as you orient yourself in the landscape of discipleship. It covers four spheres of life for you to consider where you are currently and where you might be developing in the future. The Disciple Map wasn’t designed to be used alone. It has the greatest potential when used with another in conversation. You will gain the most by discussing the different questions with a partner for a committed length of time. We suggest that you use it over the course of at least seven weeks and meet up with your partner regularly during that period of time. It’s also designed to be used time and again, either with new partners or for ongoing conversations with the same partner.
The four spheres of life that the Disciple Map covers are Gospel Formation, Community, Worship, and Mission. Questions to consider and resources for each of these spheres can be found on the Disciple Map website.
Our hope is that the Holy Spirit would use these questions to lead you to confession and repentance and that God would use the Disciple Map to bring about spiritual renewal that would lead to a significant movement of God among his people in our congregation, community, and around our world! We believe that when we seek God, He will be found by us. We are full of hope and anticipation around what God will do.
Our most recent cycle of the Disciple Map tool began January 17, 2021. If you’d like to sign up to participate, please visit our Disciple Map website. If you’d like assistance in finding a partner, please email us.