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Welcome to LUC open day courtesy of the Discipleship Pillar. This year’s theme “Connect, Share and Grow” correctly underscores the core values and principles of Discipleship. The Lord Jesus prior to His ascension charged His disciples with the message to go and make disciples of all Nations.
The Church’s mandate to go in mission is energized by the willingness to connect and share the faith through visible actions of baptizing and teaching them to obey the commandments of the Lord. The LUC Leadership and Pastoral direction is committed to this mandate given to the Church in order to finish the task. We are aware that the local Church must be strategic enough to drive the process of mission with the intention of connecting and sharing with the whole body of Christ world-wide in order to cause growth of God’s Kingdom.

The readings offered to us today demonstrate the three principles of Discipleship in connection to our
theme. Allow us to unpack this message by discussing the three principles as follows:-

1. CONNECT: Jesus in His address directly to His disciples made it known to them that He is the VINE! In
scripture the people of God Israel are called the vine! [Psalm 80: 8 – 9]. Israel was supposed to bring God’s purpose in the world to fruition. Christ, the true vine fulfilled that people of Israel failed to accomplish. Jesus Christ the ‘new Israel’ therefore calls his followers who come to Him to ‘connect’ with the true vine as the branches. He went further to declare that ‘apart from me, you can do nothing’. Therefore as far as God’s people are concerned, it is only Jesus, the true vine who can take us back to God’s true purpose. Believers can only derive their life as branches so long as they are connected to Him. It therefore means that the work of disciples is about pointing people FIRST to JESUS, the true vine. We are called to point and lead people to Jesus and not to ourselves. Discipleship is therefore a relational activity.

The Church is called out to the work of creating the right environment that fosters and encourages the growth of relationships among her members. Members of the Church cannot afford to live for themselves but must cultivate conscious attempts to live in community with the Lord and one another. Philip is the classic example of personal discipleship ministry, because of his connection to the Lord, and in obedience to the move of the Holy Spirit, Philip obeyed the call to witness to and eventually connected the Ethiopian Eunuch to faith in Jesus Christ – leading to his baptism. The intention and wish of the local Church is that members will step out in obedience to Christ and connect people in their life journey to the knowledge of God in Christ.

2. SHARE: We are called upon to share our faith with others while on the journey. Life in its entirety is a journey. However, it matters how we spend out life. For Philip, he invited the Eunuch to the faith but he did also help him understand the faith by sharing his experience. Sharing the faith, understood from the concept of the vine means we must be able to draw from the same source; the VINE. Our Christian lives can only be as fruitful so doing as we purpose to draw, share and cooperate within the vine. Equally, sharing is about service. Drawing from the vine means that we get the correct nutrients that enable us to survive the challenges of life. We are able to draw gifts and talents that we freely get from the vine. As the gifts are shared among the branches, we not only cause our spiritual health to improve, we end up contributing to the unity of the branches by our fruitfulness. In this way we bring glory and honor to God.

3.GROW: Growth is a process of faithful steps in discipleship. It starts with the intention and deliberate step to plant a seed. Growth that eventually leads to a harvest can never happen in a vacuum. Growth is the end product of connecting people to Christ, sharing their lives and gifts and eventually multiplying themselves by begetting other disciples through the work of their ministry. Finally growth fulfills the purpose of discipleship as believers in Christ are connected to Him and to each other, in order to become a ‘glorious Church without spot or wrinkle or any other blemish’ instead she will be holy and without fault [Ephesians 5:27]. May God bless each one of you as you take a deliberate choice to ‘connect, share and grow'.

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