Our Priorities at TVBC – Part 2
Last week, we discussed the first two priorities of our church: 1. Preaching and 2. Prayer. This week we will look at 3. Personally Disciple-Making Relationships:
I once heard a story of a man that confided that if he just had $100 he would be happy. After hearing the comment, a friend handed him a $100 bill. The guy looked at the money and then confessed that he wished he had asked for $200.
As Americans, we live in a culture that is progress driven.—we are never content. It’s all about getting the edge of the competition, being the “best of the best,” or trying to top our neighbor. And we will spend billions of dollars each yet to reach those goals (think sports teams!).
Even in church life, competition between churches has arisen in the form of the number of worshippers, the size of the offering, the expanse of a building, and the worship style wars, to name a few.
But what about Christ’s command to make disciples (Matthew 28:18-19)? Are desires for Christian growth biblical? Or, is it just another American competition?
One the most sobering facts about Christians everywhere is that we have neglected God’s call to train up the next generation of young people in the way they should go. Yet, the New Testament—and the Bible as a whole—knows of no Christianity without discipleship. In other words, we can’t be a “Christian” and not be a disciple. Additionally, we can’t separate evangelism from disciple-making just like we can’t separate Jesus as Savior and Lord. It is both/and!
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?
In Genesis 1:22 & 9:1, God commands mankind to be fruitful, increase in number, and fill the earth. We know from other passages that growth in God’s people is a sign of God’s blessing (Jer. 29; Ps. 92).
However, we’re not to be impressed by material growth—whether as a church or individuals (Psa. 49). The Lord clearly teaches that the kingdom of heaven will grow (Isa. 9:7). When Christ died, this kingdom began to grow (Acts 6:1, 7; 12:24; 13:49; 19:20).
Numerical growth goes on in the New Testament, but the growth prayed for is not just that, for even false and unhealthy churches can also have numerical growth. There is a growth up that affects people more deeply—see Eph. 4:15—and it comes through personal discipleship.
How does this happen? By God’s work (Col. 2:19). It’s not the pastor or the church members who cause a church to grow (1 Cor. 3:6; Mark 4:27). This doesn’t mean that we should be lazy, but this shows that God Himself is committed to growth. Paul (2 Thess. 1:3) doesn’t congratulate the church at Thessalonica, but thanks God for their growth in faith and love. When Paul wants a church to grow, he prays for them (2 Thess. 3:11; Col. 1:10).
We do have something to do with our growth. We should want to grow (2 Peter 1:18).
But in what qualities? Second Peter 1:5–faith, goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, brotherly kindness, love.
How? First Peter 2:2–through the Word of God.
HOW DO WE DO THIS?
How do we seek to do this practically at Tower View?
- Make a habit of trying to pray for those people in your day. Pray for those people you may meet for an appointment or lunch. Seek opportunities to get to know them and share Gospel truth with them as the Lord leads.
- Get to know people. Have them over for coffee, lunch, dinner, etc. Maybe they will be open again to meeting, praying, studying, and fellowshipping.
- Regularly meet with a few people one-on-one to encourage them spiritually. Go at the pace they set. Some may want to meet less often than others. If time allows, then seek to grow in the Lord together through study, prayer, and spiritual accountability.
- Then what? Read a book together or discuss the sermon you just heard. This may be formal or stiff at first, but, eventually, it will open to each.
- You don’t need to tell a person you are “discipling them.” You are trying to do something good spiritually. The goal is to get to know the other person and to do them good spiritually. As you open your own life to others and you are genuinely concerned, they will be more likely to see you as a caring friend, brother/sister in Christ, and a godly example.
Remember, there’s no expiration date or retirement age for being a disciple learning and growing. It is a lifelong journey and learning. Discipleship means you have a new Master, a new beginning, a new path. Your old life is over, buried — a new life in Christ has begun.
And, let’s be clear: Discipleship is much more than liking a Jesus page on Facebook or following a similar account on Twitter. Or, following a famous pastor.
The two most foundational elements for any Christian discipleship are the authority of Christ and the authority of Scripture. This is because we want to be thoroughly converted Christians, fully pleasing to God!
Are you seeking to do spiritually good for others in our church? Are you praying for opportunities?