Apprenticeship to Jesus is an intensive, experiential approach to discipleship that employs a mentoring style of learning. Participation involves spending extended periods in various settings, domestic and international, living according to a lifestyle designed to foster the transformation of one’s character. A mentor facilitates the lifestyle or way of life for a small fellowship of apprentices for the purpose of learning the ways of God, walking in faith and obedience, and maturing in the likeness and character of Jesus the Messiah. To be clear, Jesus is the Master Teacher of Apprenticeship to Jesus.
Apprenticeship to Jesus endeavors to:
Rethink the Church’s traditional approaches to discipleship.
Inform and enlighten our understanding of discipleship through a rediscovery of the ancient Jewish practice of disciple-making that developed a few centuries before Jesus’ first coming, but was incorporated and modeled to perfection by Jesus with his disciples.
Restore discipleship as a lifestyle or way of living that has an inseparable relationship with Jesus’ message, the kingdom of God, and the purpose for which we were created.
Jesus was born in the Middle East 2,000 years ago. He taught us how to live everyday lives with an insight unmatched by anyone before or since. He was crucified on a Roman cross, but then rose again from the dead. He lives…here, now. Meeting him changes everything.
Jesus is the Answer to human need. He is the Way out of the imprisonments we are all trapped in: bondage to destructive self-will, pride, anger, contempt, lust, envy, addictions, ruptured relationships, loneliness, despair, violence and, in the end, hopelessness. How did we get here?
Out of insanity and inner darkness we made the decision to walk away from the One who created us to experience meaning, fulfillment and joy. We exchanged fullness of life with our Maker for the living hell of life without him. But this One is a God of forgiveness, a God of the second chance. He sent Jesus, and, when we choose to rely on him, Jesus rescues us.
When Jesus died on the cross, Satan and all his works were defeated. When we turn from our sin and its consequences, and trust Jesus for deliverance, he gives the wisdom and power to live our lives. He ushers us into a life that is eternal, not only in duration, but also in quality.
This is life in the Kingdom of God. God’s Kingdom is here because Jesus, the King is here. He is the door in. Through him this Kingdom is available to all: rich, poor, weak, powerful, soldier, terrorist, homosexual, valedictorian … all! In God’s eyes we all stand on the same ground. We are broken people … broken by sin, ours and others, along with sin’s effects. Pretending anything else is a façade. But Jesus can change all this.
Evangelism is simply informing people about the option to choose Jesus, and then honoring them as they decide. God respects each person’s decision, even when it is against their own best interests. Trying to force the message on a person is to violate both the person and the message. This is an offer of God’s love – one of kindness, patience, gentleness and mercy.
Evangelism introduces people to Jesus in ways that free them from entrenched anger. It helps us understand what the process looks like to be saved from guilt, deceit, greed, lust, envy and shattered relationships. It teaches those trapped in addictions how Jesus delivers. Evangelism proclaims the Kingdom of God by announcing and demonstrating that the King is Present.
Evangelism takes place when a widow testifies that Jesus has given her the heart to forgive the men who took her husband’s life. It happens when students share with other students how he can reconcile their ethnic communities, divided by years of hate. It looks like a Jewish Holocaust survivor explaining to Germans that she has returned to their country because Jesus has given her love for them. It takes place in all sorts of ways and in all kinds of places. The Presence of Jesus is announced, and manifestations of His Presence follow.
In Antioch Network, we have a deep desire to engage in evangelism. Jesus is worthy to be talked about. We want precious people, created by God to share his life with him, but shattered by the awfulness of sin and its consequences, to know that there is a way out – a way of salvation. This Way is a Person, whom to know is life eternal.
Networking has become a common concept in our modern world. It seems intuitive to people everywhere that we can do more together than we can do by ourselves. More importantly, it’s a core Biblical principle. (“One can put a thousand to flight, and two ten thousand.”) There is an obvious synergy when people work together, and it’s especially true when Christians, empowered by the Holy Spirit, do so. As a matter of fact, it’s a command!
In a Christian context, a People Specific Network is a group of individuals, churches and/or mission organizations that are focused on the same unreached people group. They work together to initiate or facilitate the growth of the church among that people, with coordinated, spirit-led action as the result.
These networks may be field-based, in which case they are largely concerned with the activities of overseas workers (missionaries) and leaders of the emerging national church, if any. Or the networks may be home-based, in which case they are mostly concerned with the activities of churches, ministries and individuals wanting to supplement the field work in a wise and effective way. These groups are often engaged in building public awareness about the unreached group. There are also a growing number of networks that are working to integrate field and home-based groups into one powerful force.
There are more and more networks emerging that are not focused on one specific unreached people group. Several are focused on an entire region or nation advancing the cause of all the people groups if not also the networks within that region that are building their capacity to reach a specific people group. In addition, there a number of networks focused on specific aspects of reaching the lost and whose ministry blesses multiple regions and people groups. Examples would include those focused on specific evangelistic uses of the internet; those concerned with all aspects of ministry to refugees; networks of those using sports to reach out to the lost; etc.
There are specific challenges at every stage of building and/or sustaining an effective network that can cripple its effectiveness. However, there are some very helpful ways to deal with these challenges that not only help to overcome the hurdles, but also build strength into the network in the process.
We don’t claim to be the ultimate experts, but we do have some level of experience and it is a joy for us to come alongside those who wish to either launch or strengthen a network focused on reaching those apart from Jesus. In addition, we are involved with a growing group of experienced network facilitators around the world who share what they are learning as they encounter the challenges on this road, and some of whom are gifted and available as coaches to others who may be newer to this calling.
If one of our Antioch Network team members is not available to help you, we will do our best to put you in touch with someone else who is.
Increasingly we in Antioch Network are watching God lead us into the ministry of reconciliation.
What is reconciliation? What does it look like? What do we do to achieve it?
Talking about reconciliation is delicate. It is a sacred process. Most of it takes place in secret – below the surface. It is something Jesus does in human hearts. It is His miracle.
Reconciliation is a small Jewish woman standing in a cemetery in Germany before a stone erected to remember her parents. They died in the Holocaust. A German woman hesitatingly approaches her and asks for forgiveness. The Jewish woman embraces her. There are tears…
Reconciliation is a group of Jews and Arabs, followers of Jesus, confessing to each other how they and their people have wronged the other. Forgiveness is extended and received.
Reconciliation is a group of Christians committed to each other and praying for spiritual renewal in their region. They are Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, free church and Messianic believers.
Reconciliation is a woman slowly coming forward during a prayer meeting with a basin of water and a towel. She approaches another woman who has treated her with contempt. Kneeling down she begins to wash the woman’s feet. The woman breaks into tears. The two embrace.
Reconciliation is a mystery. It is God’s work. It can’t be reduced to a formula. But there are steps, rooted in the teachings of Jesus, which typically are found to be part of the process:
1 – Confession: “I speak the truth about how I/my people have wronged you/your people.”
2 – Repentance: “I/we are deeply sorry. I/we come to ask for your forgiveness.”
3 – Forgiveness: “In the name of Jesus, and the power of His cross, I forgive you.”
4 – Reconciliation: Mercy, forgiveness, healing, restitution and love flow. We come together. All barriers are gone. The prisoners have been set free. God’s kingdom has become visible.
Sometimes words are hard to find. Such things can be said through symbols and symbolic acts.
Reconciliation is a manifestation of the Presence of the Kingdom of God because it is a manifestation of the Presence of the King. It belongs to the category of “signs and wonders”.
Reconciliation NEVER denies or minimizes wrong(s) that were done. It brings wrongs to the cross of Christ, and leaves them there. It releases the wrongdoer into God’s hands.
Reconciliation is hard work. It demands deep repentance, humility, faith, patience (usually years) and walking the way of the Crucified. There is no promise of “success”.
Reconciliation is how we are reunited with God. This is its source. It heals marriages and families. It is how wars are avoided and nations are brought together.
Reconciliation can heal divisions among Christians. It is how the Body of Christ will be brought together in true love. It is how Jesus’ prayer in John 17 will be answered.
Reconciliation is central to the gospel we preach – the gospel of the kingdom. From the broken body of Christ on the cross flows forth healing for all humanity.
Worship and Prayer
It has been said that nothing happens in God’s Kingdom without prayer. And each of our team members will attest that the importance of prayer in the areas where they serve cannot be over-stated. Whether it be in some far-off land, or in the quiet familiarity of our own personal life with Jesus, prayer is crucial.
And not seminars or teachings about prayer, but actual praying! As important as training in prayer is, it does not eliminate the need for actual praying. So we pray… and we worship.
When we are together we make prayer a high priority. Our meetings are filled with prayer and worship. We are learning how to worship in ways that are contemporary and also in ways that are rooted in the ancient truths and practices of the Church… even back to the Church’s earliest roots as a branch “grafted in” to the root of Israel. There is much we are learning from one another, and from the writings of fathers and mothers of the faith.
We want our prayers and worship to be God-centered more than man-centered. To be sure, when we worship God and pray we receive great benefit. But the object of our prayers is to see the Kingdom of God strengthened and extended into places where it has not yet taken root. And our worship is for God’s benefit, not our own.
We are on a journey of discovery concerning worship and prayer. These are two more ways in which we believe god is showing us how to “Prepare The Way For The King!“