When Jesus said, “Go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19), He was addressing His own disciples. In other words, He was telling them, “Go and make more of you.” They were to clone themselves; their mission was to spread the gospel germ to those around them. Regardless of their personal limitations, their success was contingent on the authenticity of their personal experience with God. The closer they could align their minds and hearts with the mind and heart of Jesus, the more evident it would be to the outside world that, although inexperienced, “they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).
In such a skeptical and hostile world in which they lived, it would have been significantly important for the early Christians to know what they believed about Jesus and how to effectively share that reality with others. That is essentially the same pressing need we face today. We, too, should ask ourselves the two important questions: What do I believe? How do I share it with others?
That is precisely why ARISE exists.
This coming fall, we at Light Bearers will be gearing up for yet another awesome round of the ARISE discipleship program. It will be the 16th class since ARISE first started. Throughout the years, some 900 people have been ministered to through the various ARISE seminars and classes. I know this sounds cliche, but really, each year the program continues to improve.
What do I believe? How do I share it with others?
We call the curriculum, “The Story.” It is essentially a journey through the main narrative of Scripture. Beginning at Pre-Creation with the very nature and character of God, we journey on to the biblical themes of Creation, Fall, Covenant, Messiah, Church, and finally culminate in the celebration of Re-Creation. All the doctrines or theological teachings fall under one of those headings. This is because we believe that the doctrines of the church do not exist in a vacuum, but rather are accurately understood only in the context of the Story of Redemption.
The plot of the biblical narrative confronts us with a controversy taking place behind the scenes; a controversy between good and evil. But God’s glorious triumph and restoration takes center stage. Every doctrine in our belief system, if accurately understood, sheds light on this overall theme and guides us into a dynamic and compelling relationship with God. With this perspective, we view history as essentially His-story. Whether embodied within Old Testament promises or New Testament manifestations, all of Scripture draws us to the person of Jesus Christ: the Word made “flesh” (John 1:14).
we believe that the doctrines of the church do not exist in a vacuum, but rather are accurately understood only in the context of the Story of Redemption.
Throughout the 3-month ARISE program, students interact with this Story theme, but they also get instruction on practical ministry-related subjects. Practical subjects include: How to Study Your Bible, Conflict Resolution, Health and Happiness, Building Community, etc. All together, the program provides roughly 200 hours of classroom time. But aside from the classroom, an equally important component to the ARISE program is the opportunity to engage in community outreach. This includes, among other things, meeting people in their homes, one-on-one Bible studies, small group Bible studies, ministry to the homeless, and participation in a new church plant. About 150 hours of the program is devoted to the outreach component.
As they journey through this program, students can make a lasting impact as they build relationships with the community. It’s been almost a whole year since the last class was here, and yet I see people in church every weekend that are here simply because students from last year’s class spent time in the community, built relationships, shared the gospel, and blessed others. A few weekends ago we had three baptisms in a cold river. These precious souls are a testimony of how the ARISE students invested their time and actually cared for others. I can’t wait to see what this next class will bring and how they’ll contribute to the building up of the kingdom of God!
If you have a desire to step out of your comfort zone, challenge yourself, and embark on a journey in which you will grow, not only spiritually, but as a person, then prayerfully consider the 13-week ARISE program. For more information, click here.