Discipleship happened because Christ was the standard for the house church and the Word was their guide. They dared to love and wanted to serve.
There is power in our stories. In living them, in sharing them, in letting them take root. There is growth in experience. Bound together by struggle and cultivated in vulnerability. Unified in the unhindered celebration of grace and honest confrontation of sin, this is the life of a disciple. And this is the life Josh and Emily Radcliffe chose to embrace with their house church.
The first glimpses of discipleship appeared in their quads, the smaller groupings of people from their house church. Emily met with other women and Josh with other men. In this more intimate group people could stop hiding their baggage and allow themselves to be real and broken. Each person's quad was who they were responsible to know, love and care for. People shared their stories of transformation in Christ and struggles found in the grit of day to day life. They desired to truly know each other and allow themselves to be known. In choosing vulnerability, honesty and love discipleship took hold and began to change everything.
Discipleship, like change, didn't happen all at once though. It was a process. Josh and Emily's house church didn't form trusting relationships in one day. They had to think outside the box. There was no one way to do things. Some quads texted while others meet over a cup of coffee. Each had to figure out what worked best for them to connect as a group. That was where the relationships were built, word by word. Life wasn't confined to a single night of the week nor discipleship to the span of a couple hours. They were learning to live like a family. Josh and Emily chose to live with an open door whether the floor was scattered with toys or the sink filled with dirty dishes. Their house church family was always welcome as were their neighbors and friends. They fought to be connected. They fought for community. Breakfast meetings before work or late night visits after the kids were asleep became a new normal. They went to bed tired, a good tired, because they loved with all their strength.
Discipleship happened because Christ was the standard for the house church and the Word was their guide. They dared to love and wanted to serve. Little things around the neighborhood like handing out burgers or water, talking to people, praying with them, loving them as they were, they fought to do these things together. Every year the house church organized a trip to Zambia to invest their time and gifts in the communities there. It transformed how and why they served at home. It transformed how they loved. Forged through shared hardships and joys they faced life side by side pointing to the great Author that brought them together. With dirt under their nails and grass stains on their knees they weren't afraid to get in too deep. They were made to be disciples.
Author: Robin Zastrow