The Great Commission Apprenticeship exists to develop and equip disciples of Jesus Christ to think, love, act and gather in submission to Christ and in accordance with His mission. With the belief that the Greatest Commandment (love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength) and the Great Commission (go and make disciples of all nations) are inseparable, the GCA is designed to both deepen a love for the triune God, and develop a heart for the nations. This will be accomplished in the following three ways:
- Theology/Missiology (Think)
- Bible Study
- Spiritual Formation (Love)
- Bible Study
- Practice of Spiritual Disciplines
- Life in Community
- Evangelism/Discipleship (Act)
- Training in Evangelism/Discipleship Skills
- Requirements to apply these skills weekly
- Local Church Rooted (Gather)
- Membership of Local Church required.
- Continued Participation in Local Church required.
- Will be encouraged to develop a plan for mobilizing their sphere of influence, including their church.
- Church leaders are welcome, and encouraged, to participate in or visit any GCA events.
Our minds will be challenged to think biblically about God and His mission as we study the Word and seek to develop a biblical missiology. Our hearts will be challenged and encouraged to pursue a deeper relationship with the Lord through Bible study, prayer, spiritual disciplines, retreats and more. We’ll be equipped to live, work, eat, play and rest with gospel intentionality. The context for growth in the GCA is community. Though some things may be done alone, the community will serve as a place of accountability, encouragement, challenge, growth and equipping.
The GCA has been primarily established for those seeking to grow in their commitment to serve on mission locally or overseas, and secondarily for those who hope to mobilize more workers, especially within the context of their local church. Other opportunities available as desired are training and counsel in selecting an agency, developing a timeline to go, identifying a place or people group, support raising, business development and church planting, stewarding finances and other needs related to being sent overseas.
Program Cost: $150.00 includes all books, manual, events, or seminars throughout the 12 week semester and program. We pray your local church desires to make an investment in what the Lord is doing in your life by helping with a portion of the cost.
SET UP: There are many components to the GCA that will help us fulfill the program’s purpose. These components are: Commission Communities (CC), Accountability Groups (AG), classes, seminars and curriculum. Below are listed the components and a brief explanation of each.
Commission Communities: We will meet weekly with our CC’s for approximately two and a half hours. There will be a variety of components to every CC meeting.
Community Meal: Each CC meeting will begin with a community meal. How we do this will depend upon the group’s size and desires. It may be for the sake of convenience, each person is tasked with bringing his or her own meal. It may be participants will feel led to organize a potluck or “pitch in” on shared take-out, that’s more than welcome. It may be that a meal is provided for the group.
Nations Prayer: Each week we will take a few minutes to pray for unreached people groups and for missionaries we know. Every week someone will be selected to provide our focus of the week. That person will then present their people and missionary to the group and lead the prayer time. You can be as creative as you’d like during this time.
Book Discussion: This part of the CC is devoted to discussion of the book we will be reading concerning the topics of Theology and Missiology. During this time, we will dig deeper into the chapter(s) we read for that week, as well as think through practical applications for our lives.
Outreach: The goal of this time is for everyone to share with the group stories of how God is working among our lost friends; stories of how we are engaging our lost friends; and/or issues/questions that have come up while sharing with our lost friends. We will close by writing down the names of every person we are currently engaging and/or seeking to engage with the gospel, and then we will pray for each of them by name and for those who are reaching out to them.
Accountability Groups: We will meet weekly in groups of two to three of the same sex for approximately an hour and a half. There are three main components to AG’s: 1) Bible study, 2) fighting sin and 3) spiritual disciplines.
Bible Study: Each week you will apply the R.E.A.P. Bible study method to a chapter of a book of the Bible. The aim is not to exhaust the chapter, but to grow in our understanding of how to apply this particular method to the Bible as well as benefit from studying in community.
Fighting Sin: Each week you will help each other fight sin. This is perhaps one of the more difficult things you will do, but is also one of the most helpful. This time is about more than confessing sin. This is a time to confess and apply the gospel to our lives. Be sure during this time to acknowledge not only sins of commission (doing things we should not do), but also to acknowledge sins of omission (not doing things we should do). NOTE: As you study the Bible and read the Spiritual Disciplines book, ask the Lord to expose any areas of sin that you might not normally acknowledge in your life.
Spiritual Disciplines: Each week you will be assigned a chapter from a book that focuses on spiritual disciplines. During this time, you will discuss what was read and make a practical, measurable application that is to be done over the next two weeks (see calendar). You can make other applications as well, but you will be asked about the one you made in the two following meetings by your AG. Applications should already be determined before meeting with your AG.
Pray: We will end by praying for one another.
Curriculum: There will be different curricula for each of the components listed above. Here is a list of some potential books and articles we will be going through during the GCA:
Books: *recommended but not required reading.
“Knowing God” by J.I. Packer
“Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life” by Donald S. Whitney*
“Spiritual Warfare: A Biblical and Balanced Perspective” by Borgman and Ventura
“Tradecraft – For the Church on Mission” by Crider, McCrary, Calfee & Stephens
“Church Planting by the Book” by Elbert E. Smith*
“Resolving Everyday Conflict” by Ken Sande and Kevin Johnson*
“Bible Doctrine: Essential Teachings of the Christian Faith” by Wayne Grudem
12 week Fall Program –Studies in Acts (use R.E.A.P. Bible Study Method)
There may be articles, sermons and other resources used and/or recommended during the GCA.
WEEKLY PERSONAL EXPECTATIONS (3-2-1)
3 HOURS with Jesus: Everything begins and ends with God. Our daily foundation must be centered upon our relationship with Christ as we commune with Him through prayer, worship, and studying the Word of God at least three hours a week (outside of our FC’s).
2 HOURS with internationals or other non-believers: In order to reap, we must sow the seed of the gospel. We will spend at least two hours a week engaging the lost in our workplaces, our classes, our neighborhoods and our city with the gospel. We will seek to leverage relationships for the sake of the gospel by engaging co-workers, classmates, neighbors and others. The ultimate goal is sharing the gospel and making disciples of Jesus.
1 HOUR of focused prayer: Prayer is the real work of mobilization and mission. We will spend at least an hour a week in focused prayer. This hour of prayer is not meant to be spread over the week. The intended purpose is to take a whole hour and focus your time before the Lord. Things you might focus on include: people groups, missionaries, people with whom you are sharing the gospel, personal/intimate time with the Lord, and more. We will seek to involve others in this time through a regularly scheduled time each week or spontaneously. At times, we will simply be alone during our focused prayer time. The goal here is to add greater depth and breadth to our prayer lives.
COMMUNITY EXPECTATIONS: Jesus said that a large part of our witness to the world would be the unity we experience as believers (John 17:20-23). A big part of GCA is learning how to live well in community. If we are all striving to be at our best, our entire community will benefit. With love and grace, let’s seek to live up to the expectations below.
GOOD TO GREAT: During this 12 weeks, you will be incredibly busy. At times, it will be challenging to prioritize GCA. This is intentional. When living on mission, many opportunities will compete for your time. Take this time in the GCA to learn how to balance your priorities, sometimes having to say “no” to good opportunities in order to focus your energy on the great things.
Practically, this means being at every CC meeting, FC meeting, and committing to do 3-2-1 every week.
EXCELLENCE: Whether it is doing ministry and 3-2-1 or coming well prepared to CC meetings, when we all do everything to the best of our ability then our entire community will thrive.
RESPECT: Respect others by honoring their time. Show up on time to CC meetings, FC meetings, prayer times, ministry times, etc. Be sure to communicate if you will be late. Always seek to maintain an attitude of “putting others first” (Philippians 2:3-4).
GRACE: We want to create an ethos of grace. All of us are imperfect and will sin. Let’s be a community who restores one another with truth and grace through the Gospel. We will also disagree on things through the nine months together. May we demonstrate to the world how to walk in love through these things.
RELATIONSHIPS: Learn to be a conversationalist. Ask questions and pay attention when others are speaking. Turn off technology and be “all there” with the person in the room. Give them your full attention, whether it is a lost friend or a fellow GCA participant. During CC, don’t be a distraction or have side-conversations.
ACCOUNTABILITY: Be open to correction and advice from your GCA leaders and fellow participants. Allow others to speak into your life. Keep a short account with each other, and be willing to confront in love and apologize quickly.
ABOVE REPROACH: Be aware of your interactions with members of the opposite sex– both in ministry and with others in the community. Avoid being in one-on-one situations– even when the intent is innocent in nature there is no need to invite temptation. What may appear to be innocent and friendly texts, conversations, and touch, may indeed communicate something entirely different.
TEACHABILITY: The insights and experiences you will gain this year will benefit you for years to come. Be eager to actively soak up as much as you can.
FRIENDSHIP: Above all, let’s have fun and enjoy one another! What a joy and privilege we have to partner with God and each other in his work.
POLICY FOR MISSING A FUNCTION
Life happens. There are some things in life that we simply cannot control. A broken down car, a major leak in our home, a weather disturbance, a medical emergency, the loss of a loved one and many others things can happen unexpectedly. However, tests, papers, work deadlines, errands, email replies, homework, vacations, outings, parties and concerts do not tend to come out of no where.
The expectation for each participant is that they be at every GCA function that is mandatory and required. In the event that an emergency similar to the ones listed above does occur, then you will need to let your CC leader and/or AG know that you will be missing. Missing a function because you are tired or forgot a test/paper or want to go with your friends on that thrown-together-at-the-last-second-weekend outing are not good reasons to miss.
For the semester you will be allowed two absences. These are not free to use whenever you want. They are available when needed. If an extremely major emergency comes up, we will deal with that on a case-by-case basis and determine the best response at that time. If you have missed two functions, and another reason comes up that is worthy of you missing, then please discuss it with your CC leader and or the GCA director. Again it will be case by case at this point.
The goal is to think and act like you are on mission. You are centering your life on mission and not comfort, work, school or recreation. This will be challenging, and that is exactly the point.
By God’s grace, I commit to the leaders and participants of the Great Commission Apprenticeship to:
- Spend at least three hours in personal Bible study each week.
- Spend at least two hours intentionally reaching out to the lost each week.
- Spend at least one hour in focused prayer each week.
- Arrive prepared and ready to contribute to all GCA events.
- Disciple others toward a great commission lifestyle in Jesus.
- Make intentional steps toward involvement in mission, mobilizing locally or to an unreached/unengaged people group in the next 1-3 years.
I will strive, by the grace of God, to meet the above commitments.
Signed _________________________________________________________ Date _________/ __________/ ____________________
The Great Commission Apprenticeship enthusiastically embraces “The Lausanne Covenant” of The Lausanne Movement; you may view it at http://www.lausanne.org/covenant.