In the last chapter of the book of Matthew (Matthew 28:16-20) one can find the passage called the “the Great Commission.” As recorded in this gospel, it is the final words of Jesus Christ to his disciples commanding them to go into all the world and make disciples. So, what exactly is a disciple? In the first century they were ordinary men that believed in Jesus. To get to know Him better they adjusted their routines, made life changes, risked failure, made mistakes, and often disappointed themselves. And in return for their efforts, they were transformed by God into people of courage, strength, boldness, passion, and peace. They changed from men of obscurity to some of the best examples of spiritual transformation, motivating generations of believers throughout the ages.
So how does spiritual transformation happen in the twenty-first century? Like the disciples we must be willing to take the initiative. It is the grace of God that will accomplish the task, but it is our willingness that allows it to occur. Spiritual disciplines are always a good place to start. Some disciplines can only be done in solitude, like personal devotion or personal prayer time. Yet generally, disciplines work best among the community of believers. That is because when we seek spiritual growth together, we are more likely to stay on course and be motivated to take bigger steps and more risks. It is the accountability of other believers that makes us honest enough to see that without the community we are likely to just drift about never moving forward. The author of the book of James says it best, “Those who listen to the Word, but do not do what it says, are like people who look at their faces in the mirror, and after looking at themselves, go away and immediately forget what they look like.” (James 1:23)
There are also many opportunities for ministry at St. Andrew's that will produce spiritually transformed hearts. Of course, you will have to adjust your routine, make some changes, risk failure, make mistakes, and even feel disappointed in yourself. Yet like the disciples, you will not be disappointed. God will do the transforming and you will see more courage, strength, boldness, passion and peace at work in your life.