Rediscovering Biblical Discipleship
This past Monday & Tuesday John Mauldin, CJ Cauble, Paul Eill, Tanya Hargrove, and myself attended a conference at Trinity Point Church in Easley. This conference was called Immersion I. The point of the conference was to help churches rediscover Biblical discipleship. Okay, I know what you are thinking. Pastor Tommy has gone off to another conference and now he's going to try the latest church growth fad on us. Well, actually we have some great structure in place to continue to make disciples. This conference reiterated the things we are doing right, and how we can do them even better.
Some things we were reminded about in discipleship:
1) God's plan is relational discipleship- We weren't created to do life alone. To be successful in our relationship with God and in the mission He gave us requires relationship with one another. (John 15:4-5, Hebrews 3:12-13).
2) God's plan is intentional leadership: Jesus focused his resources on making disciples. He was a coach and didn't play all the positions himself. He invested in a few to reach the world and released his key players to develop other leaders.
We as a church must do the same. Also, as we develop intentional leadership we must all be on the same page. We must be in alignment. The key areas we must be in alignment are: 1) Theological alignment- we are a Southern Baptist church. We teach our key doctrines in our membership class. 2) Aligned philosophically- our vision is where we're going, our mission is how we are going to get there, and our process is the tools or road map to the mission. It is the intentional discipleship process. 3) Aligned relationally, 4) Aligned organizationally.
3) Relational Environments (Growth Groups!): We have always believed that true discipleship comes through relational environments with real teaching through God's word and by interacting with it.
As we continue to work through this process, we will be training our leadership on the discipleship process where we can see where people are and help to move them out of that stage into a deeper level of commitment to Christ. Our goal is to move everyone in our church into a mature, parent level discipleship where they are discipling others. We believe this is best accomplished through our Growth Groups. We will be implementing some incredible, life- changing Bible teaching through what is known as Bible storying.
I know this is a lot to process. In many ways this has been helpful for me to put in writing the things we've been through the last couple of days. I promise, this is not a conference we went to and the notebook will end up collecting dust on my bookshelf. You will see our church do a better job of making disciples in the months to come. After all, that's what Jesus called us to do!