Discipleship Structure of Oakdale Wesleyan Church
You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5 NIV
Jesus commands us, as his Church, to be and make disciples. While the process of sanctification is a continual “transformation into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord” (2 Cor. 3:18), we should also have markers which tell us we are: equipped for works of service, attained unity in the faith and knowledge of the Son of God, and become mature (Eph. 4:12-13). Toward that end, Oakdale Wesleyan Church has set up 12 markers, 12 Living Stones, as steps of discipleship.
In the Bible twelve is a number that represents completeness with regard to the people of God. There are 12 Tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles, and 24 (2×12) Elders around the throne of God. As the leadership of Oakdale Wesleyan Church prayerfully considered what outcomes God is looking for in his disciples, we found ourselves with quite an expansive list. As we continued through the process, we grouped and honed down the list into twelve key areas.
In the Bible people used stones as markers. For example, when the Israelites crossed the Jordan River into the Promised Land, each tribe took a stone from the middle of the riverbed, and when they crossed to the other side the stones were set up as a memorial (Joshua 4:1-9). Also, the breastplate of the high priest was inlayed with 12 stones, with a name of each tribe written on a stone (Ex. 28:15-21). Like with the number 12, we wanted to capture that symbolism and give people a remembrance.
How does discipleship work?
It is our desire that every member of our church, young or old, obtain 12 stones as a memorial to their growth in Christ. Some stones are easier to obtain, while others more difficult. Some stones have a specific set of curriculum that must be completed, while others are specifically tailored to the individual. Although the stones are presented in a logical order, they do not have to be obtained in a specific order. We work in mentor-disciple relationships. As requirements are completed and the fruit of a new life is seen, stones are awarded publicly during worship services.
Obtaining all 12 Living Stones does not mean one has finished growing as a Christian, but should mean that one has learned the basics to continue to grow in life and godliness.
Grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.
2 Peter 3:18
For those already mature in The Christian Faith, rather than repeating lessons already learned, Living Stones should be obtained by mentoring someone else in obtaining their Living Stones.
The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
2 Timothy 2:2
Each of the Living Stones is illustrated by the life of each of the 12 sons of Israel. The table below provides a summary of those illustrations. An in-depth study is given in the Living Stones sermon series from Genesis 49.
The Living Stones are:
|Faith – Simeon, along with his brother Levi, murdered the men of an entire city. They were in need of forgiveness. Upon confessing Jesus as Lord, and believing in their heart that God raised him from the dead for the forgiveness of their sins the disciple receives a citine stone.|
|Sacraments – Levi became the priestly tribe of Israel. Upon receiving instruction, demonstrating understanding, and participating in the sacraments of Baptism and The Lord’s Table the disciple receives a red tiger eye stone.|
|Evangelism – Naphtali is blessed with offspring. Upon engaging in personal witnessing and missions the disciple receives a clear quartz stone.|
|Accountability – Reuben took liberties as Israel’s first born son that he should not have taken. If he had submitted to accountability, perhaps he could have received a blessing. Upon completing a period of time in a Methodist Band accountability relationship the disciple receives a red jasper stone.|
|Church – Issachar’s blessing was to be the hardest worker among the sheep. Jesus called his people his sheep. Upon becoming a church member, studying (and hopefully discovering spiritual gifts), involvement in a church ministry, and understanding and engagement in corporate worship and holiness, the disciple receives an amethyst quartz stone.|
|Stewardship – Asher’s blessing is to have rich sustenance and to provide for the King. Upon learning stewardship, including stewardship of time, money, and influence, the disciple will receive a hematite stone.|
|Knowledge – Benjamin is described as a ravenous wolf who devours the prey. A disciple must eat and use the Law of the Lord. Upon completing study of the key doctrines of the Church, engaging in the memorization of Scripture, and putting that knowledge to effective use, the disciple receives a malachite stone.|
|Transformation – Judah has many stories of failure, but his tribe becomes the royal and Messianic line. In addition to guided study, upon having a life in which the disciple’s attitudes and actions begin to reflect the Fruit of the Spirit, and understanding and living a life of personal holiness, the disciple receives a rose quartz stone.|
|Emotions – Zebulun is the tribe of peaceful harbor. Upon learning to live in emotional health the disciple receives a blue lace agate stone.|
|Responsibility – Gad might be attacked, but in warfare could give as good as he gets. Upon achieving a level of personal responsibility both in the physical and spiritual realms of life, demonstrated in goal setting and achievement, and being able to feed themselves physically and spiritually, the disciple receives a carnelian stone.|
|Society – Dan’s blessing was to provide justice and deliverance for his people. Upon involvement in ministry to the community, world, and/or social justice, thus understanding and engaging in missional and global holiness, the disciple receives a yellow jasper stone.|
|Disciplines – Joseph is blessed as fruitful. Of all the sons of Israel he spends the most time alone with God and has the greatest spiritual aspect to his life. Upon learning and practicing Christian spiritual disciplines the disciple receives an onyx stone.|