Make discipleship a priority in ministry
October 14, 2002
A few years ago, our church entered into a process known as "Intentional Disciplemaking." It involved a number of training sessions. Let me share what has come from that process.
Our church has established a "Disciple Development Team" that has responsibility for assisting in the overall process of assimilating people, from the moment they enter our church as prospects to incorporating them into servanthood through the body of Christ here at Ballwin Baptist Church. We have sought to establish different levels of available studies to our members to assist them in their spiritual growth. We primarily use Wednesday nights for these studies. They have been positively received.
The whole "Intentional DiscipleMaking" process has increased not only the awareness of the need to develop new believers and members, but has also opened up our eyes to the various ways of reaching out to the unchurched in our area, without compromising our message. The Great Commission calls for a both/and approach regarding people. Evangelism is both reaching and discipling those who are won through the sharing of our faith. To regard them as separate will create an unhealthy church environment. Let me illustrate.
A church that concentrates on only reaching the lost, will leave the "back door" of the church wide open, and as such, will not maintain healthy growth. On the other hand, a church that concentrates on discipleship of it’s existing members as the priority, will slowly create an "at ease in Zion" approach that de_sensitizes us to the lost condition of man, and our responsibility in sharing the Gospel with them.
Biblically and in reality, the Great Commission demands that healthy churches both evangelize the lost and equip those converted by grace through faith in Jesus Christ and Him alone. The "Intentional DiscipleMaking" process seeks to get a church "on track" in truly accomplishing the Great Commission through the power of the Holy Spirit. Our church is at the beginning stages of fully implementing all that we have gleaned during our journey, but because of it, we have made great strides in seeking to become the "healthy" church that God would have us to be.
We are seeing many more people involved in the DiscipleMaking process and in our evangelistic training than we have had in the past. I believe that most of this increase is the result of the "Intentional DiscipleMaking" process that was launched a few years ago. I would encourage you, as we seek to be "Kingdom" people, to consider becoming "Intentional" about Disciplemaking, including evangelizing and equipping. May God bless you as you see "His Kingdom first."