But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 3:18
The last few weeks we have been talking about preventing the spread of cultural Christianity. I mentioned some characteristics of cultural Christians: they are often more concerned about outward appearance (doing good) than a personal relationship with Christ; they often believe that good people go to heaven and most would categorize themselves as “good”; they don’t want to make too much sacrifice or commitment to following Christ; they like to focus on Bible passages about loving everyone and ignore passages about sin, repentance and the judgment of God; they want to look like a Christian on Sunday and more like the world the rest of the week. I mentioned that not everybody who admires Jesus or calls themselves a Christian is a true follower of Jesus Christ.
How do we prevent the spread of cultural Christianity? We make sure we get the gospel right and clearly explain what is required in following Jesus. Jesus told those who want to follow Him to count the cost and decide if they were willing to deny themselves in order to follow Him. A couple other ways to prevent the spread of cultural Christianity is to be intentional about making disciples and raising the bar in regards to expectations of church members. I’ll be talking about those two items the next couple of weeks.
Being intentional about making disciples must become a top priority for the church. We want to establish a disciple-making strategy to help believers take the next step in their spiritual journey. We want to encourage believers to be: 1) Devoted to God through daily prayer and Bible intake and to make weekly worship a priority. 2) Deepen your roots by getting connected to a small group Bible study. 3) Deploy yourself for ministry and service by finding a place to serve in the church and by living on mission for Christ. 4) Disciple others by investing in others (possibly through 3-5 people discipleship groups). We want to encourage each other to be growing as a disciple of Jesus and helping others grow as followers of Jesus (be discipled and make disciples).
As a church, we need to teach/preach on discipleship, raise the bar for church membership by encouraging discipleship for every member, provide appropriate Bible study groups and ministry opportunities, focus on training up leaders, and empower and deploy members for ministry and service. As a pastor, I want to make discipleship a priority by preaching disciple-making sermons, looking for opportunities for discipleship in worship services and Bible study groups, encouraging members to get into Bible study groups, providing ministry opportunities and empowering people for ministry.
Brad Rathburn is working on some disciple-making studies for men as he is passionate about helping men progress in their walk with the Lord. I think we are getting to a point where we can have some get togethers and be able to talk about discipleship opportunities. Please consider being apart of some of these groups this fall and we are going to need some leaders to help teach and disciple other men in the near future.
Individually, we invite you to contact us if you would like to a next step in your spiritual journey. We would be glad to help you find a Bible study group and share some ministry opportunities with you. If you need training, we will be glad to help determine how to best provide that training. While we have some work to do in several areas, we can all get started with #1 by committing some time to daily prayer and Bible intake. Ready, set, go!