By the Rev. Ramsey Gilchrist, Prince George Winyah, Georgetown
“Taking the Gospel Challenge was the best decision I’ve made in a long time. Going through the gospels brought me into a relationship with God. It was so inspiring I convinced my 13-year-old son to take the challenge also. He loves it. Thanks be to God!”
Harry Oxner, Prince George Winyah, Georgetown
“The Gospel Challenge is simple, effective and transformative. It has amplified my hope, joy, clarity, and control of thought, speech and action… There is no downside. None.”
Charles Nation, Prince George Winyah, Georgetown
“The Gospel Challenge is the most impactful bible study I have done. The consecutive study of the Gospels using the simple Gospel Challenge method opened my eyes to things I have missed or maybe misunderstood. I’m beginning the Gospel Challenge with two other men and plan to continue to use this to draw me and others closer to Jesus.”
Richard Moore, St. Philip’s Church, Charleston
These are comments from a few men who have taken the Gospel Challenge, a discipleship program started several years ago at Prince George Winyah Church in Georgetown. The program started with three participants, and now more than 50 men and women have participated in the Challenge. When asked to describe their experience, their stories all resemble the quotes above. It is amazing to see the transformation that occurs as participants gather weekly to read the gospels and share their lives.
Each person who completes the Gospel Challenge feels a connection to the 11 disciples who gathered with Jesus at a pre-arranged meeting place on a mountainside in Galilee to hear his last charge to them before he ascended back into heaven to take his place at the Father’s right hand.
His words to them were, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all hat I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
His instructions to us are the same as those he gave to the 11 gathered on a mountainside in Galilee some 2,000 years ago. Our call is to go and make disciples, to baptize and to teach. The late Dallas Willard, a brilliant scholar and renowned Christian thinker, made a profound observation in his book The Great Omission. He wrote, “The greatest issue facing the world today is whether those who are identified as ‘Christians’ will become disciples – students, apprentices, practitioners – of Jesus Christ, steadily learning from him how to live the life of the Kingdom of the Heavens into every corner of human existence.”
The Gospel Challenge is an initiative of M2 Ministries designed to help those who want to take seriously the command of Jesus to go and make disciples.
It is not designed as a Bible study to be done in a group setting but as a mentoring exercise with a mentor and one or two others. In this setting, we have found that intimate and transforming moments can happen with Jesus and with one another as we immerse ourselves in the gospel text. In this way, we walk with Jesus and his first disciples as they traversed the dusty roads and trails of Judea and Galilee. The first disciples were transformed by being with him on those roads and trails; we are transformed by being with him as we walk through the pages of the gospel text.
The Gospel Challenge is divided into two sections. In the first section we read through the four gospel accounts in 90 days by reading one chapter per day. This is combined with a weekly meeting with one’s assigned mentor to discuss the seven chapters from the previous week. Upon completion of the gospels, each participant is encouraged to complete eight discipleship lessons. These eight lessons, Eight Traits of the Disciple of Jesus, focus on eight behaviors that were discernable in the lives of the earliest followers of Christ. Each assigned lesson requires about one hour to complete and a weekly meeting with one’s mentor.
These traits provide a framework for living out one’s faith. We sometimes refer to them as our Rule of Life. Not only do the eight traits give a valid framework for one’s own pursuit of faith, they become a valuable tool for moving from disciple to disciple-maker. Upon completion of the Gospel Challenge, our hope is that each person will be able to say that I, too, have been with Jesus; my life has been transformed; and I want to help others experience the joy of knowing Christ. Each graduate is presented with a copy of The Gospel Challenge Workbook and is encouraged to recruit someone else to take the Gospel Challenge with them.
We believe God has called and equipped us to help strengthen His Church by helping believers fall more deeply in love with Jesus and teaching them how they can make an impact in their own church by helping others become disciples and disciple-makers.
If you would like to take The Gospel Challenge or see it become a part of the discipleship program of your church, contact Ramsey Gilchrist @ 843-222-7494. We would be thrilled to help.
The Gospel Challenge has been an incredible blessing in the life of our parish. There has been a vibrant spiritual awakening in our congregation through the more than 30 men who have participated in this program. Inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit, men of God are growing as disciples of Christ, taking on leadership roles, living lives characterized by joy and a contagious desire to take seriously the Lord’s command to make disciples of all nations. Friendships are being forged, faith is increased, and all members of our church are beneficiaries of The Gospel Challenge from M2 Ministries. I highly commend this ministry to all.
Rev. David W.T. Thurlow, Rector Prince George Church, Georgetown, SC