What does discipleship look like in a church? Members following Christ fulfilling the great commission. This involves taking the Gospel as it is to people as they are. Discipleship is a lifestyle, and therefore, it necessarily takes the ministry of the church into the community. Bible studies are set up in the community, in homes, in dorms, in restaurants. Friendships are made in school and on the job. Lost souls and wayward Christians are ministered to right where they are. Christ commissioned the church to GO in Matthew 28:19 because the church is not primarily for the lost. It is an embassy for His ambassadors to equip them to GO into the world with the Gospel message and train disciples. The lost will not feel comfortable in the church. And so Christ’s disciples follow His example, and go where the people are, then bring new disciples into the church.
The call to Discipleship
Interested in discipleship? Contact us. Eager disciplers at MBBC, with as much as 30 years experience, are looking for disciples interested in personal and systematic training to serve Christ.
God selected the Apostle Paul as one of the first role models for Christian discipleship. Paul says in Acts 13:47-48,
“For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”
Unashamed of the Gospel and confident in his calling, Paul exhorted in First Corinthians 11:1 to, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
We are called to do likewise. Not only to be disciples of Christ, but to train more disciples to do likewise. In Second Timothy 2:2 instructs us saying,
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.
Discipleship is God’s plan for your life. It is incomparable in the fulfillment and reward enjoyed by those who experience it.
Discipling others requires time, friendship, and training. For many, the training content and materials have been emphasized while the time and friendship have been minimized. Time in quantity has been replaced with time in quality. Friendship is tolerated as long as it is not inconvenient. Thus, discipleship often suffers from being programmed into convenient time slots such as Sunday school hour. I say suffer because discipleship is a way of life, which inherently involves daily activity morning, noon, and night (Acts 5:42). Discipleship programs that remove this vital element of daily time spent in ministry and friendship often produce anemic disciples. Yes, the transparency of life is scary, but remember, discipleship is not about being perfect. It is about improving our lives as witnesses for Christ. And this involves more than an hour or two a week at church.
Sunday disciples will not produce fruit that is necessary to turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6 ; 6:7). Rather, such disciples will be trained to focus inwardly. Inward ministry offers training to anyone who will come to church and join a program, a ministry, or a study session at church during church hours. In contrast, Paul and his disciples followed the daily example of Jesus and went to those in need of instruction and training. It is not as efficient for the discipler and the church organization, but it is effective. It is the way Jesus and Paul lived their lives.
Time and friendship can be talked about, but that is a poor substitute for doing it.Yet it is the convenience of talk that makes the elements of time and friendship vulnerable to being neglected in the process of discipleship. Including disciples into your life is uncomfortable and inconvenient. For many, it is more far more efficient and convenient to talk about discipleship materials and topics than to practice it as a lifestyle.
Discipling by the Book
Jesus told us what to do and showed us how to do it. Paul role modeled discipleship for us and explained what to teach. So where do you begin? That’s an easy question to answer because Jesus said that the first and great commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. And then there is the second command to love others as yourself. And then Jesus says that everything else falls into place. Now that’s simple and something anybody can do.
The book titled, Multiply Your Life for Christ by Dr. Patrick Briney, builds on these two commandments and shows how discipleship is done by the Book. It all begins with nurturing your love for God and teaching others to do likewise. For a lesson on how this can transform a congregation check out the free online book called “Revival and the Pastor’s Dream Congregation“. Visit Dr. Briney’s blog, and ask a question about discipleship.
It is satisfying to discover that there is an authoritative beginning point for discipleship. But how does one nurture their love for God?
Well, He has given us three resources to help us become the very best disciples possible: His Word, His Spirit, and His church. All three are guaranteed to help you grow. But having the resources is still not enough. A disciple must learn the disciplines to use the resources. To learn more about multiplying your life for Christ, get a copy of Multiply your life for Christ, and give it to others. You will discover why it begins where it ends and ends where it begins.
When you give your heart to Christ, the Spirit of God controls your life. From this control comes the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23. This fruit is the result of loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind. It is not like artificial fruit resulting from coercion. It is genuine fruit of Christ-likeness. Unfortunately, the ever-present sin in the flesh seizes every opportunity to spoil the fruit. What can be done to nurture and preserve the fruit of salvation? How can we help ourselves and disciples not fall by the way side and rot like a neglected fruit tree? God’s Word has the answers, and during the Mission Blvd. Baptist Church Discipleship conference in Fayetteville, AR, we look into the inner core of discipleship to get at the heart of what discipleship is all about. Join us to discuss, debate, think, share experiences, and learn more about discipleship.
Looking for resources to help you train yourself or your disciples? Below is a list of downloadable materials we frequently use in our ministry for Apologetics, Evangelism, Followup, Church,and Leadership.
Here is another link to a page full of useful articles for discipleship.
For materials in Spanish check out this link: materiales españoles.
Failure to answer questions convinces some that there are no good reasons to believe the Bible. Too often Christians have been weakened in their faith or intimidated due to lack of answers.
The following are great faith builders and tools to use on outreach (Proverbs 24:5; 1 Peter 3:15).
A wonderful series for one on one lessons, small groups, self-study, and as a correspondence study. Each lesson
What topics are best to teach a new Christian? These lessons present the principles most essential for spiritual growth needed by both the beginner and the mature.
Discipleship is all about advancing disciples forward in their maturity, doctrine, character, and ministry skills. With a foundation built consisting of salvation, assurance, dealing with sin and temptation, applying the disciplines to utilize the 3 resources, and bonding in church ministry; a disciple is ready to begin the process of being weaned from the daily dose of spoon fed training. The following lessons advance disciples forward in their doctrine, character, and skills so that they can begin the process of making disciples too.