Justin Hiebert

Catalyzing Change

The transformation and the journey

Posted on 25 Jun 2013 in Discipleship, missional theology, Uncategorized | 2 comments

Tonight we had a family over and they shared with us some of their recent adventures as teachers abroad in South Korea. Home for a few weeks in the summer, it was a great time to catch up with old friends, hear new stories, and indulge in some BBQ and homemade cookie sandwiches. Then, with the children playing in the background, we watched an episode of Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition and saw the touching story of Ryan, a young man who lost his left arm in a car accident and as a result put on weight to cope with the tragedy. At 410 pounds, he began a strick workout regimen and over the next year lost enough weight to reach his target goal of 195 pounds. He fought his emotions, his fears, his past, and his inner voice – the one always telling him to quit or give up. In the past, he had listened to that voice.

But not this time. With a great family support system, a personal doctor, and Chris Powell (the personal trainer and host of the show), Ryan overcame all of that and came out transformed.

Photo Credit: Facebook.com

Photo Credit: Facebook.com


Discipleship transformation is never easy, but it is worth it. We must be willing to put in the hard work and allow others into our lives to help us. Only then will we see results.


[/pullquote]And the journey of discipleship is much the same for the Christian. In order to grow as disciples we too must overcome our fears, emotions, our pasts, and our inner voice telling us to quit. But most importantly, like Ryan, we need these three things:

  1. There will be sacrifice. There will be hard work. There will be suffering. It will not always be easy, fun, glamorous, or pain free.
  2. We need people around us supporting us and encouraging us.
  3. It will be worth it.

Discipleship, whether in my own life or when I do it with someone else is never instantaneous. I can’t snap my fingers and make myself or someone else a better person. I can’t magically make anyone a better Jesus follower. But like Chris (the host of the show) I need to be willing to enter into peoples pain and point them forward. I must enter with them into the muck and point them into something better. For Ryan, it was weight loss and the possibility of a new life. For the Jesus follower, it is new life in Christ. What has been lost and broken is redeemed. What has been neglected and broken down is once again renewed.

Like the journey of weight loss, the journey of discipleship is full of making the small (right) choices. To lose weight, I can’t have late night snacks, donuts every morning, or deep fried butter (here’s to you Texas State Fair, keep it classy).

To become more like Jesus, the small things I do every matter. How am I thinking about my neighbor, that person who cut me off in traffic, or that jerk guy in the grocery store? How am I choosing to become more like Jesus when no one is around? The choices that we make when alone shape how we will behave when with others. And without a support system and an encouraging community, the transformation of becoming more like Jesus will fail. Discipleship cannot be done alone.

Discipleship transformation is never easy, but it is worth it. We must be willing to put in the hard work and allow others into our lives to help us. Only then will we see results.


Thoughts? Reactions? How did it make you think? What are your reactions?

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Justin Hiebert

Leadership Catalyst - Entrepreneur - Coach at JSHiebert Leadership Coaching
I am a Business and Life Coach in both non-profit and for profit settings. I coach leaders, executives, and pastors in areas of vision, clarity, and values. In relationship coaching I focus on healthy and sustainable relationships, and in leadership development roles I catalyze change for individuals and groups to thrive. I also consult churches and organizations on how to train new leaders and create a healthy culture. In addition to that, I am an Anabaptist pastor in the Denver metro area. I specialize on topics that include: missional theology, discipleship, culture and the church in today’s society. I am married to my wonderful wife Elise and we have three kids. I grew up and now work in the United States Mennonite Brethren Church (USMB) and love the people and history of the Mennonite Brethren faith. I am a graduate of Tabor College with a dual degree in Youth Ministry and Christian Leadership, a graduate of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary with a Masters of Divinity, and a Doctoral Student and Bethel Seminary. I also teach college classes in areas of Bible, Communication, and Business.

Latest posts by Justin Hiebert (see all)

  • We must be willing to put in the hard work and allow others into our lives to help us. Only then will we see results.

    YES! Too often, discipleship is seen as a personal, individual journey. God helps ME to change ME to become a better ME for ME. While there is some truth in that, it is through community that we become disciples. Watching the disciples in the gospels and peaking in to Paul’s discipling of Timothy and Titus, we see men (and women) working together in community to become men and women working for the Kingdom. The transformation happens in community by the community which includes God in that community in order to build up the community to bring more into the community to continue the cycle over again… It’s a feedback loop of the best kind…

    • BTW, we watched the same episode last night… was really a great show, showing a changed life… that, and my wife is a Green Bay Packers fan so, of course, Clay Matthews and Donald Driver were a big draw…

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