After singing "Day by Day," Tim Jordan invited Mark Dever to the platform. Another of his pastoral interns, Tripp, shared his testimony of faith in Christ and then Mark began his message.
- At the Garden, the basic lie was that God could not be loving and still tell us no.
- The temptation is to believe that there is no such thing as authority in a fallen world other than authoritarianism.
- The truth is God is wonderful, all-powerful, and good, entirely to be trusted.
- We want to use whatever authority He has given us to do good.
- I want to talk about one fruitful way we should influence others.
- I want to do three things
- Think about the idea of growing members (growth)
- Practical ways to grow disciples (discipleship)
- What I personally do to try to grow disciples (mentoring)
- Isa. 9:7, the Bible promises that God’s kingdom will grow.
- 1 Thess. 3:11, when was the last time you prayed this way for your congregation…publicly?
- Col. 1:10, this is what we want to see in our churches.
- The church has an obligation to be a means of God’s growing people through grace.
- 1 Cor. 3:6; 2 Pet. 3:18; Matt. 5:16
2. Discipleship (Membership)
- A 12-step process to recover church membership:
- Regularly proclaim the Gospel in your preaching.
- Have and use a congregationally-agreed-upon statement of faith and covenant.
- Require attendance at membership classes. It is a loving thing to present carefully the expectations that others will have of you and they of the congregation.
- Require an interview after the membership class before they are recommended to the congregation.
- Stop baptizing and admitting children into formal church membership. The question I’m raising is not whether a child can confess Christ; the question is one of the congregation’s ability to discern. The large number of nominal Christians and re-baptisms in the church seems to bear out this concern.
- Realize that admission into church membership is an act of the congregation. Nobody can resign their membership. It was a mutual agreement.
- Publish a directory regularly. Use it as a prayer list.
- Give pastoral oversight to the members.
- Work to create a culture of discipleship in the church. Encourage members to deliberately to give themselves in love to each other. Use the staff not so much to disciple but to facilitate discipleship.
- Limit some activities to members of the church.
- Only after membership is recovered, begin to practice discipline.
- Recover something of the grandness of God’s plan. Pray for other Bible-believing churches in your services. Meditate on Hebrews 13:17. Consider the serious of this accounting we will give to God. Continued membership in our churches is giving assurance of salvation, so it’s serious accountability. The Lord will say finally who is a member of His Church.
- John Brown in a letter of paternal counsels to one of his pupils newly ordained over a small congregation: – “I know the vanity of your heart, and that you will feel mortified that your congregation is very small, in comparison with those of your brethren around you; but assure yourself on the word of an old man, that when you come to give an account of them to the Lord Christ, at his judgment-seat, you will think you have had enough.”
3. Mentoring (Following Jesus)
- 9 Marks for Identifying Elders (Titus 1:5; 2 Tim. 2:2 — four generations in one verse, shows fascinating foresight, unlike many pastors just thinking about their own retirement). I’m just getting my church ready for the next guy.
- Look for the biblical qualifications (1 Tim. 3; Tit. 1) – recognize that these are not exhaustive lists, e.g., nothing about quiet times, or lust, or leadership qualities, etc.
- Look for who God is raising up around you. Have a deep confidence in this. The future of your church does not depend on you; it depends on God. Christ will build His Church.
- Trust. (1 Cor. 13:4-7)
- Give personal time to them. Don’t build walls around yourself. Your example is part of what God intends to use. (Heb. 13:7) Use people to help you prepare sermons and help you refine your manuscript prior to its delivery.
- Delegate. I need to cultivate the respect of the congregation for other leaders. Be generous in giving young men opportunities to teach. That is not you defaulting your responsibility.
- Feedback. Model giving godly criticism. Paul begins 1 Corinthians with encouragement. Receive godly criticism with humility.
- Authority. We need to teach the truth about complementarianism in our churches. In churches that are clear about men leading, men step forward.
- Clarity. With clear teaching on doctrine and truth, explaining why we do things, it attracts leaders.
- Humility. Be the kind of pastor who rejoices in the leading of others; don’t be threatened by it. We need to spend more time preaching the Word and less time showcasing our special gifts. Pray for humility, that God would get glory in His Church.