Discipleship

Discipleship in the Wilderness: Helping Our Fellow Believers Live Out the Pursuits of Psalm 63 (Part 3)

From Faith Pulpit. Read Part 1: Seek God Earnestly, and Part 2: Reflect on God Continually.

Praise God Submissively

Our words and actions always give praise to someone or something. As we walk beside our brothers and sisters, we have the wonderful privilege of encouraging them to live in praise to God. As we speak to them about the glory of their God, we will encourage them to speak to Him and to others about His glorious nature and acts. As we help them consider how their words and actions express praise to the persons or objects of their trust and meditation, we will help them to consider their conduct and live for new reasons and in new ways, bringing praise to God. As we help them praise God in the midst of the changes that crisis and suffering call on them to make, we will assist them to reorganize their lives with the goal of bringing praise to God in the midst of the new opportunities and limitations.

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Discipleship in the Wilderness: Helping Our Fellow Believers Live Out the Pursuits of Psalm 63 (Part 2)

From Faith Pulpit. Read Part 1: Seek God Earnestly.

Reflect on God Continually

In the midst of this life’s wilderness, everyone thinks; in the arid regions of the wilderness, thoughts sometimes scream. In these times, we must learn what captivates the thoughts of our brothers and sisters. We must help them not only to give themselves to learning more about their God, but also to capturing their thoughts with the truth of God that they know and are learning.

Evaluating Meditation

In order to evaluate, once again, we must be loving, compassionate, and wise listeners. Words both reveal and betray our meditations. We speak out of the thoughts of our hearts. As we listen to our brothers and sisters, we must pay close attention to what they say and to what they do not say. We must listen for words that are in harmony with the actions we observe, and we must listen for words that are discordant with behavior. As we listen, we should consider the thinking of our fellow believers in at least three important areas: their views of God, their views of themselves, and their views of others.

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Discipleship in the Wilderness: Helping Our Fellow Believers Live Out the Pursuits of Psalm 63 (Part 1)

From Faith Pulpit, Winter 2016-2017. Used with permission.

In the July/August issue of The Baptist Bulletin, Dr. Jeff Newman published an article titled “Dependence in the Wilderness.” In that article, Dr. Newman explored Psalm 63 and its implications for growth during difficult circumstances. This article builds on this previous work by applying the Biblical concepts to discipleship ministries. For a more thorough study of these concepts, refer to his book, Dependence in the Wilderness (Regular Baptist Press, 2015).

This side of glory all of us will walk together with brothers and sisters who face arid regions of this life’s wilderness. In the eighth grade, Mary faces constant pressure from her unbelieving friends to turn her back on her faith. Now her friend, Sue, who in the past had encouraged Mary in her walk with the Lord, offers Mary a joint and scorns her when she refuses. Mary sits crying in your office, struggling to believe that God is truly a friend when He allows her other friends to forsake her.

Tom, a high school senior, loses his girlfriend, Joanne—a new Christian—to a drunk driver. You stand with Tom and Joanne’s unbelieving family at the head of the casket. You see the why? questions in their eyes.

John and Kim hold the lifeless body of their first son, born just hours earlier. You look on the scene with tears in your eyes.

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Simple Church Planting

There is nothing simple about making disciples, and yet, making disciples should be done simply. Forming local churches from new disciples does not need to be an overly complicated affair.

In unreached areas, or among unreached people groups, to make disciples is to plant local churches. This is what Jesus communicated to us in the Great Commission:

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, [even] to the end of the age. Amen. (Matthew 28:19-20 NKJV)

The Lord Jesus commissioned His people to go and make disciples of all nations. They are to baptize these new believers in the Name of the Triune God and teach them to obey Him.

To be an obedient disciple of Jesus means that a believer becomes a significant part a local body of Christians, a local church. There they learn to put into practice the teachings of Jesus and His apostles. It is God’s design that His disciples follow Him in the context of local churches. As the author of Hebrews tells us,

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (10:23-25 ESV)

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Leadership Development: A Three-Step Process

By Micah Colbert. Reposted from Rooted Thinking.

Leadership development is one of those things that churches frequently talk about but rarely plan for or actually do. According to Ephesians 4:12-16, every church is responsible to train its members for gospel-advancing, church-building ministry. But how do we do that? Below is an example of the process our church uses to develop leaders for ministry:

The Three Step Process of Ministry Leadership Development at Community of Grace

Our prayerful desire at Community of Grace Church is to cultivate a culture where ministry leaders are encouraged and equipped to use their gifts to serve the body of Christ. For this to happen, we recognize the need to be intentional about ministry leadership development. As elders, we have identified a three-step process that we will use to choose, train, and equip potential leaders for gospel advancing ministry:

Identify

The elders seek to identify servants who are teachable, able, faithful, and fruitful (STAFF) to lead and serve in the various ministries of Community of Grace Church. Below are questions we use to help identify STAFF people:

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From the Archives – The Importance of Presence in Ministry

Going Beyond Public Gatherings

God calls every believer to teach His Word to others at a grassroots level. To motivate and equip them to do this, He provides pastors. These are responsible to “hold nothing back,” devoting themselves to ministry in two venues: public gatherings and private settings (Acts 20:20). While both settings are necessary, it seems that prevailing Western models favor public gatherings over more personal settings. Perhaps this imbalance hinders our efforts to engage people in ministry.

We work hard at our public gatherings. Pulpit style. Stage lighting. Usher training. Multimedia presentations. Music of all kinds: congregational, choral, instrumental, solo, ensemble, instrumental and choral. Service orders and liturgies. Invitations (or not). Announcements. Special events. Dramatic interpretations. Guest speakers. Sound systems and auditorium acoustics. We give attention to all these things and more.

But do we give equal or adequate attention to the other important ministry setting? Do we devote ourselves to connecting with believers in personal settings to the same degree? Church ministry that occurs only (or primarily) at a central church building misses a key element of the “hold nothing back” approach that Paul emulates.

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