Pastor Derwin L. Gray: And the Key to Discipleship Is…

By Jocelyn Hu

I graduated Magnum Cum Laude with a Masters of Divinity Degree, with a concentration in Apologetics, from Southern Evangelical Seminary under Norm L. Geisler, Ph.D.

I am currently a doctoral student at Northern Seminary under Scott McKnight, Ph.D. My doctoral emphasis is the 'New Testament in Context.'

I share this with you not impress you, but to you let you know that I value the life of the mind.

I am a full-fledged, card-carrying theology nerd. But I'm also a spiritual romantic in that being loved by and loving Jesus is my highest treasure.

But if all my theological, philosophical, apologetic learning is not integrated into my life by faith in Jesus to mature me holistically as a person, then I have wasted my time.

It's possible to be a biblical literate and emotionally immature.

The overarching goal of discipleship is to partner with the Holy Spirit to produce communities of love:

I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love.  Ephesians 3:16-17 NIV

I suggest that we have told me to read the bible, pray, join a small group, serve, and share your faith but we have and under-developed people in how to live by faith in the Indwelling Lord Jesus.

Spiritual disciplines are useless if we are not living by faith in the Indwelling Lord Jesus.

The Pharisee's knew the Old Testament in its entirety by the age of 12, yet Jesus told them,

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.  John 5:39-40 ESV

Jesus doesn't just want us to learn about Him.  Jesus wants to know, experience, and trust Him (John 17:3)!

I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.  John 15:5 NIV

Discipleship to the Apostle Paul was about cultivating emotionally-mature people because of their direct dependence and trust in Jesus:

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.  Ephesians 4:31-32 NLT

Can you imagine a local church like this?  Jesus wants to fill our planet with local churches filled with people like this.

So, how do we fix our broken discipleship methods?  By teaching people to trust in, and live from, the Indwelling Life of the Lord Jesus.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20 ESV


Derwin L. Gray is the founding and Lead Pastor of Transformation Church, a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, mission-shaped community that loves God completely (Upward), ourselves correctly (Inward), and our neighbors compassionately (Outward) in Indian Land, South Carolina, just south of Charlotte, North Carolina. Transformation Church was recently recognized as one of the fastest growing churches in America for 2010 by Outreach Magazine.

Gray met his wife, Vicki, at BYU and has been married for 19 years. They have two children, Presley and Jeremiah. After graduating from Brigham Young University, he played professional football in the NFL for five years with the Indianapolis Colts (1993-1997) and one year with the Carolina Panthers (1998). Gray is the author of Hero: Unleashing God's Power in a Man's Heart (Summerside Press, 2009) and is a highly sought-after communicator. He's also recognized by many as the Evangelism Linebacker. He's had the honor of teaching in a variety of settings including Billy Graham Evangelistic Association events, the Billy Graham School of Evangelism, Exponential Conference, Simply Youth Ministry Conference, Greg Stier's Dare 2 Share Ministries, Tommy Nelson Song of Solomon For Students Conferences and at universities and conferences around the country.


© 2014 


Derwin L. Gray;Discipleship