When Jesus gave us the Great Commission, He commanded us to go and make disciples. There is a difference between making converts and making disciples. A convert is someone who has made a decision to be a Christian. A disciple is someone who is being trained by Christ to become like Him. A disciple is obedient to the will of the Father, and loves Jesus enough to follow Him wherever He goes. Converts tend to run from persecution, while disciples have a faith strong enough that they choose to remain and be a light in a dark place.
Many of the people arriving at ICC Greece are converts, who have not had any discipleship or bible teaching. They are however, hungry for bible teaching. They come with many questions, as well as deep pains, traumas and life challenges. They want to learn more about following Jesus, but until they arrive with us, they often haven't had a safe space to do that.
A core part of the work of the International Christian Consulate is to teach people the ways of the Kingdom of God, and to make strong disciples of Christ. The House of Faith centre provides a safe space for meetings, discipleship sessions and fellowship with other believers.
Discipleship doesn't happen simply through doing a course, it is a long-term walk alongside those being discipled, through the messy journey of life.
Reaching those Beyond Greece
The discipleship programme of the International Christian Consulate includes believers in Greece but also those hiding in several high-risk countries, where persecution is a daily experience. For those joining remotely, this is a lifeline - a way out of isolation, being connected to a wider community of believers.
"I always say that God's greatest miracle in my life is having you with us. We have grown up in our faith since we found ICC, both me and my family. I thank God that you are there and through you we are learning the way of Christ and we are growing in our faith every day. We have changed a lot. I am learning to trust God more and not be so afraid. We want to be disciples of Christ."
For more intense discipleship and to provide space from the busyness of daily life for healing from trauma and hurt, ICC has a small camping retreat facility in a rural part of Greece.
The small-scale agricultural activities, along with the quiet, peace and beauty of the surrounding nature, provide many hands-on examples of spiritual concepts. In the same way that Jesus taught the disciples using parables based on the things around them, so we can teach the same parables with many of the same 'live' examples.
Things that were somewhat of a mystery suddenly become lightbulb moments of understanding and growth. Alongside the hands-on, practical discipleship, the quiet and contemplative environment allows the Holy Spirit to conduct deep healing work in the lives of those who visit.