This week I have been thinking about two things: Discipleship and Easter.  Easter is less than 6 weeks away and I want to make sure I take some time to prepare my heart for the Easter season.  This year I have been going through a helpful book called, “To Seek and to Save: Daily Reflections on the Road to the Cross” by Sinclair Ferguson.  This book contains some daily devotions from the book of Luke that highlights some of Jesus’ encounters on the way to the cross.  We will try to consider some of the events leading up to the cross on Wednesday evenings throughout the month of March. 

      Our staff has started making plans for Easter services.  We had over 1,000 in attendance last Easter (counting the sunrise service).  We are going to pray about a goal for this year and will be communicating some ways that you can help us invite and welcome guests on Easter.  Last year we ran out of parking for our second service so we are going to ask our members (those who are able) to park away from the church this year and leave space for our guests (we will plan on running our van over to the court house to pick up those who park over there). 

     We will be asking for some help in our parking lot and other areas.  We will ask our folks to move to the center of the aisles so that guests don’t have to feel awkward trying to get to their seat.  Of course, we want you to wear your smile every week and warmly welcome our guests.  Also, we will have some invitations for each of you to send to your “one” and hopefully they will join you on Easter Sunday.  We will be communicating more about special prayer times and other outreach opportunities associated with our Easter services.  You can begin now by praying and offering your assistance.

     I’ve also been trying to think more about a Discipleship process for the church.  Some biblical priorities for believers and the church include: loving God, loving others, and making disciples.  We love God through worship and devotion.  We love others through ministry, service, fellowship, and evangelism.  The Great Commission gives us a command to go and make disciples.  Discipleship primarily refers to helping people grow as committed followers of Jesus.  I’ve learned that discipleship doesn’t happen by accident.  We must be intentional about discipleship and have a process to help people take the next step in their spiritual growth. 

     The first step for many people is simply to respond to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We know that doesn’t happen by accident.  No, as followers of Christ, we must share the gospel with those around us.  We pray for opportunities, we pray for receptive hearts, we share the good news of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, and we invite people to repent and believe.  Our “Who’s Your One?” emphasis is really about helping people we know and love to take that first step in following Jesus.  I want to help equip every member to feel comfortable sharing the gospel and inviting people to trust in the Lord.  Please let me know if I can assist you with sharing the gospel (gospel tracts are helpful).  

     I often talk to Christians who have trusted in Jesus but who have not been discipled in the basics of following Jesus, growing in their faith, the importance of prayer and Bible reading, living in community, and sharing their faith with others.  Many Christians remain spiritual babes because the church has not helped them to take steps in their spiritual growth.  One of the first steps we can help new believers to take is to get connected to a life group or small group Bible study. 

     Next, we want to help believers grow deeper in the Word of God and better understand who they are in Christ and begin to use the spiritual gifts that God has entrusted to them.  Ultimately, we want to help followers of Christ to begin to invest in others and become disciple-makers.  Along the way, God uses His people to impact their friends, family, city, community, and beyond with the life changing Gospel.  I’ll be writing and communicating more about a discipleship process.  May we all be intentional about growing in our faith and knowledge of Jesus Christ.  If you are interested in helping us establish a discipleship process, please let me know.                             Bro. Harold