Since it is the mission of every church to make and grow disciples, what do we think it means to grow as a disciple? Agapé seeks to grow people that are characterized by love. These are our loves:
- Jesus is the focus of the word of God, and we know Him and love Him only because we have the Holy Spirit inspired words of scripture (Matthew 5:17-20, Luke 24:25-27).
- Jesus’ work makes possible our prayers to God as Father, praying like Jesus did. Our response of faith and love in Jesus is to pray, dependent upon the Holy Spirit (Galatians 4:4-6, Romans 8:26-27, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
- If anyone abides in Christ, they will bear much fruit (John 15:18), and this fruit comes through the Holy Spirit and abiding in Him (Galatians 5:16-17, 22-26) and rejecting the works of the flesh (1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:19-21)
- The people of God are to serve one another (Galatians 5:13) and to use the specific gifts given to them for the building up of the church (1 Corinthians 12:12-31)
- The people of God are to gather (Acts 2:42-47, Hebrews 12:23-25,) and to strengthen each other’s lives (Ephesians 4:14-16, 25-27), to rely on one another and to work together,for the proclaiming of Jesus and the showing of Jesus to our city (John 17:20-26). Love must be concrete and the church is the concrete expression of the Gospel’s power to the world (John 13:35).
- We are to give sacrificially of our resources, time, energy, and hopes to see the people of God built up (2 Corinthians 9:6-15, Galatians 6:10, Acts 2:44-45) and the mission of God move forward. Disciples trust God enough to be free from viewing anything that he or she gives as their own, but rather as kind gifts to steward in allegiance to God’s Kingdom.
- Loving the city means that we believe that our good is related to the good of the city, and we invest with our time, resources, and skills for the good of the city (Jeremiah 29:49, Luke 6:31).
- The best way to serve Chicago is to be involved where people are involved, like in sports teams, after school programs, social services, regular events, or just by attending “third places” like bars or coffee shops in our neighborhoods on a regular basis (Acts 17, Acts 18:24)
- Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ is essential to our identity (2 Corinthians 5:17-20) and our distinctiveness as a people (Acts 17:6).
For a more detailed explanation on of what it means to grow in these three loves, see our Table Values.