What a special blessing to see true discipleship in action at BCBC this past Sunday. Believe me, it has taken much prayer, patience, and teaching to get to the place we are today. May I be quick to add that we still have a long way to go, but we are making good progress. I have never been more convinced that the main function of the local church is discipleship which is the whole commandment given in Matthew 28:18-20.
How grateful I am for the influence of a mentor many years ago in Indiana, Randy Patten, who then was the State Representative of the Indiana General Association of Regular Baptist Churches. Periodically, he would gather up a group of young pastors and take them to a camp for two-to-three days in western Indiana. There we learned the importance and dynamics of discipleship, small groups, prayer and transparent honesty before God and men. There have been many others who have played a role in the confirmation in my heart of discipleship being the heartbeat of the local church.
Two years ago this coming August, the Lord allowed me to undergo surgery for a detached retina. After surgery, I had to lie on my left side for seven days during which the Lord met with me in some very special ways. I cried out to the Lord for clear direction for BCBC, and He heard my plea. Everything I read, every sermon I listened to, and many songs I heard all pointed to discipleship. The message from God was so clear. The time had come to lead BCBC to be a total Christ-exalting discipleship ministry. In other words, every ministry at BCBC must have as its primary goal, discipleship. As I said earlier, we have not arrived, but we are making progress. Certainly, it has not come without its share of opposition, misapplications, apathy and trials. Our church motto has become, “Disciples: that’s who are. Discipleship: that’s what we do.” An expanded version of that statement is: “A disciple is an obedient, faithful, growing, loving Christian who lets the Word flow into and through his life in making and training and maturing other disciple-makers.”
So back to last Sunday, we saw on that day so many people intentionally engaged in people’s lives to prepare the soil for discipleship, continue the work of discipleship, and/or see the fruits of discipleship. Praise the Lord, in particular, for the many involved in the lives of three individuals baptized on Easter. Two were adults who had recently received Christ. Looking back, these two were the results of people inviting, praying, sharing the Word, answering their questions, going and intentionally discipling them, because that’s what disciples do. Then, at the end of the Sunday morning service, came the fulfillment of Matthew 28:19, Go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy Ghost. To hear their salvation testimonies and see them take the step of identification and obedience through baptism was a joy-filled occasion. Now, we are watching the continuation of Matthew 28:20, Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, as these new believers are being disciple with the goal of seeing them disciple someone in the future!!
Are you a born again member of a local church? Who have you shared the gospel with this week (and that doesn’t mean asking them where they go to church, but engaging them with Scripture)? Who are you discipling? What’s their name? When and where do you meet? Are you obedient to Matthew 28:18-20? Not every church can have a bus ministry, a Christian school, a day-care, a Sunday School, a teen ministry, a children’s program and/or various other ministries, but every church can and should be involved in true, biblical discipleship! The call from Christ is one of utmost authority with His guaranteed presence to enable and empower (Matthew 28:18, 20).