Our Calling As a Church * We Will Develop Growing Disciples
How Are We Going To Get There?
In the past few weeks, we’ve been looking at our church and asking ourselves 3 questions: Who are we as a church? Where are we headed as a church? And How will we as a church get there? Our final answer to the third question is we will develop growing disciples. Now this presupposes two things. First, we are able to recognize a mature disciple, and second, we have a process that will produce mature disciples. This also means we must be able to measure or evaluate how we are doing in our disciple-producing endeavor.
Imagine that you are a foreman at a widget factory and the owner schedules a time to meet with you for the annual report and your job evaluation. He will ask at least two questions: how many widgets did we produce this year and were they quality widgets? As a church, we must realize that we will be evaluated by our Lord to determine if we have been faithful to His marching orders, given to us in the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:37-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Based on these two commands, we have crafted our church’s mission statement which is “To Know Christ and Make Him Known.”
If we brainstormed together to come up with a list of characteristics of what a fully-devoted follower of Jesus looked like, it might contain the following: followed in baptism; faithful in worship; devoted to prayer; engaged in evangelism; knowledgeable in the Scriptures; manifesting the fruit of the Spirit; serving people’s needs. Historically, churches have tried to boil down the list into something shorter and more memorable. Based on Acts 2:42-47, for example, a devoted believer engages in these things:
Worship (Acts 2:42-43, 46-47)
Fellowship (Acts 2:42, 44-46)
Instruction (Acts 2:42)
Evangelism (Acts 2:41, 47)
Service (Acts 2:44-45)
Some churches prefer action verbs instead of nouns to describe disciples and use the acrostic GRACE:
Glorify God through meaningful worship.
Relate together in biblical community.
Apply God’s truth through discipleship.
Cultivate a lifestyle of service.
Expand God’s Kingdom through evangelism.
Now we know what a mature disciple looks like according to the Bible, so let’s talk about the process we have available to us at RRBC and evaluate ourselves honestly. We’ve decided to use the model of a diamond and it’s not original to us but we’ve personalized it for our church. It looks like a baseball diamond with 4 bases and the path between bases getting smaller the further you go. As you leave home plate, running to first base, that is Salvation and Baptism and of course, those are the first steps. When you land on first base, you are Identifying in Membership with our local body of believers here at Red Rocks Baptist. As you head to second base, you begin Growing in Christlikeness, presumably being discipled by an older believer and learning the basics of Christianity. On second base you are Growing in Maturity, learning discernment, understanding the Scriptures more, and faithfully walking with God. Leaving second base, you are Using your Spiritual Gifts to Serve in Ministry on third base. Then finally, rounding third, you are discipling or Training Others for Service and when you cross home plate you are Engaging in Multiplication, or evangelizing and discipling. As you advance around the diamond, the amount of people with you shrinks. We want every person to be all-in but sadly, not everyone will grow, not everyone will serve, not everyone will train others. When you begin this whole process you become part of the Community of believers and then grow as you are in the Congregation of our church. As you step into more service, we see your Commitment, and then only the Core make it all the way around the diamond to home plate.
Let’s set a course for personal and church-wide growth. We are excited about how God will grow our church as we seek together to follow Him!