In the Fourth Gospel there is a distinct mission placed on the church of making disciples (John 1:43-46). Other texts are explicit (Matthew 28:18-19). In the Fourth Gospel there are three distinctives marking true followers of Jesus. First, they are committed to following the Truth into a faith vis-a-vis a vicissitude of challenges (John 8:31-32). Second, they love each other with the exact love that Jesus possessed so that there is no mistaken their identity and that the world comes to see the Gospel (John 13:34-35). Third, the authenticity of their life can be seen in their actions, the fruitfulness of their life–restored celebrations, healed relationships, feeding the poor, beautifying the arts, undoing the oppression and bringing life.
The Fourth Gospel portrays one disciple as a paragon of following Jesus–the Beloved Disciple. The Beloved Disciple had a community of disciples who lived our the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They were a Beloved Community. The community of the Beloved was not a small group, or social justice group, or support group. They related to each other as family, they loved each other as family, they cared for each other as family, even though they were not biologically related (John 19:25-27). They were taught to lead by serving, to oversee by washing each other’s feet (John 13:4-17). They saw their King as a servant who modeled for them servanthood (John 13:4-17). The Beloved, also saw themselves as “Sent Ones” (missionaries). They understood that just as Jesus had been sent into the world so they were sent into the world (John 20:21-23).
Lighthouse practices the kind of discipleship we see in the Beloved. We see ourselves as those who have been sent into San Francisco (missionaries), we embrace our existence as servants, who serve our city and neighborhood. We embrace the family of Jesus as that of our own by caring, sharing, protecting and celebrating with it. We believe that followers of Jesus are made in community, serving and being sent into the world. Beloved Communities are the way we live out being disciples of Jesus Christ.