Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Discipleship - How We Do It

Every now and then someone will come along as ask what we are doing for discipleship - and sometimes, (not always, but someitmes), I can detect something in their voice that sounds more like a cross examination, rather than being a sincere search for information. It's almost as if they are implying something by their question. You know what I'm talking about - you've experience it too.

To find out, all you have to do is open your eyes and notice the multiple venues and tools we have in place to develop maturing believers.

For the record – I would be willing to take one hundred of our best disciples and stack them against one hundred disciples from any other church; and what you would see in them is an exemplary life - in character and conduct. They spend time in God’s Word (i.e., study, read, meditate, and memorize). They pray, worship, serve, tithe, and bear fruit of the Spirit. These people are mature, compassionate, loving, and actually witness to the lost. You see, you can’t have a growing church without mature disciples to carry out all the work associated with the Great Commission. It takes unselfish, dedicated, mature believers to set aside their own preferences for the sake of others – that’s called being a “servant.” Hello! Isn’t that what a disciple is - TO BE LIKE HIS MASTER? Of course it is!

Some people have a VERY NARROW VIEW of what discipleship really is. Have you ever noticed that some of the people who talk about discipleship are the very ones who WANT YOU to BELIEVE and THINK just LIKE THEM? Yea, they start reading some books by so-and-so and all of a sudden possess “the keys to the kingdom.” Then they start passing their little books around hoping to persuade others to believe “just like them.” Those who “buy in” are then considered true disciples (in their opinion).

Back to the question – What do we do at PCC to help equip and produce disciples? Here are some of the tools we use:

  • Our SUNDAY SERVICES help produce disciples – Yes, that’s right. I said the SUNDAY SERVICE. You see, God’s Word never returns to Him void. He said so Himself! (See Isaiah 55:11). That is what happens in our Sunday services - God's Word goes forth "accomplishing what He pleases" (Isa.55:11) - seekers get saved and believers learn. That’s the starting point.

  • Our Small Groups help produce disciples
  • Our Bible Study groups help produce disciples
  • Our Ministry Teams help produce disciples
  • Our Seminars help produce disciples
  • Our Foundations Classes help produce disciples
  • Our Children's Minsitry helps produce disciples through teaching and worship
  • Our Teen Ministry helps produce disciples through teaching, worship, and volunteerism

  • Our fathers & mothers “in the Lord” MENTOR younger believers, helping to produce disciples

  • We consciously attempt to balance the five purposes of the church (evangelism, fellowship, worship, discipleship, and service) to produce healthy, maturing believers.

  • COVENANTS - We use covenants in almost all we do – for membership (101), maturity (201), all our volunteer teams, children’s ministry, ushers, worship band, even in our small groups – for the PURPOSE of INCREASING COMMITMENT. We ask everyone to sign a covenant if they want to be included. Why? It produces growth – we always become like the things we are most committed to.

  • In Seminar 201 we ask our participants to commit the FIVE BASIC HABITS of a disciple, which are - Time in God's Word... Prayer... Worship... Small Groups (or Bible studies)... and Overcoming Materialism by Learing to Tithe. We have 98% success rate from 201 graduates.

  • And MOST IMPORTANTLY, we simply TRUST the HOLY SPIRIT to do His work. i.e., The SAME Holy Spirit who brings salvation to the convert in the first place, is the same Holy Spirit who CONTINUES to work in the believer’s life on a DAILY BASIS!

We take the Bible seriously when it says..... "Work out YOUR OWN salvation with fear and trembling; for IT IS GOD WHO WORKETH in you." (Philippians 2:12-13, KJV).

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.