Follow. Connect. Make.
As we begin to unfold the new vision at EFCCL, we will be concentrating on three words in particular. You will be hearing more and more about these words in the days ahead. They help focus us on the path of spiritual growth according to the Bible. God wants believers to grow spiritually and has made the path clear and understandable. The end result is salvation, spiritual maturity, and lasting joy.
FOLLOW. Jesus says in Matthew 4:19, “Come follow Me.” This is a bold invitation to follow Jesus as Savior and as Master. This begins by following Jesus as Savior. The Bible tells us that we are born into sin and desperately need to be reconciled to God. Otherwise, we will perish forever in Hell. Again and again in the Scriptures, we are summoned to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ in order to be reconciled to God. It is only through God’s grace that a sinner is able to believe in Jesus. This is the first part of follow. To follow Jesus means, first of all, to surrender to Him as the only hope of being forgiven and spending eternity on the New Earth. The second part of follow is the invitation to grow in the Christian life. This is path of spiritual maturity. It is a journey towards joy. Jesus tells those who profess to be His disciples to surrender their agenda and adopt His. In John 14:15, Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” To follow Jesus is to obey Jesus.
CONNECT. Jesus says in Matthew 16, “I will build My church.” The next step towards spiritual maturity is to connect to a group of fellow believers. This is where getting connected to a church comes in. This is a reminder that the Christian life is not meant to be lived in isolation. The Apostle Paul wrote thirteen letters in our New Testament, the majority of them to local congregations. The reason for this emphasis is that the local church is the main way for believers to connect and grow together. To say, “I want to follow Jesus but do NOT need a church” is a contradiction. To be a follower of Jesus is to be connected to a local body of believers. Being connected and involved in a local church is a critical ingredient for spiritual growth and maturity. To just dabble in a church is to remain stunted spiritually and to miss out on true joy.
MAKE. Jesus says in Matthew 28, “Go and make disciples of all nations.” The final step of spiritual maturity is to share the Gospel and to make disciples of all nations. This begins right here at home and extends to the unreached and unengaged peoples of the world. This means sharing the Gospel with lost sinners around us. The Bible calls all followers of Jesus to share the Gospel with the lost. (The Gospel is the good news that God is reconciling the world through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.) We must first share with our children and moves outward from there. But making disciples is more than just making converts. Making disciples involves mentoring and investing in the spiritual growth of others. Jesus says, “. . . teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” This is, frankly, the part of the Great Commission that many Christians ignore. They sit in church week after week but are not investing in anyone else. Investing in others is one of the most essential ingredients for spiritual growth and joy—both ours and those we invest in.
by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor