Whom Are You Discipling?
Winter is fully here, and the Evangelical Free Church of Crystal Lake continues to grow numerically. For this, we praise God! The flip side to all our growth, however, is the need for continued involvement in the lives of one another, specifically in the area of discipling. Dr. Robert Coleman, in his book, The Master Plan of Evangelism, writes:
“The example of Jesus would teach us that [making disciples] can only be done by persons staying right with those we seek to lead . . . With such haphazard follow up of believers, it is no wonder that about half of those who make professions . . . fall away . . . There is simply no substitute for getting with people . . . After all, if Jesus, the Son of God found it necessary to stay almost constantly with His disciples for three years & even one of them was lost, how can a church expect to do the job on an assembly line basis a few days out of the year?” (pp. 48-49).
Practically, this means that we have our work cut out for us as a church. We have to realize that converts and less mature Christians need to be discipled; they need follow-up and training about how to live the Christian life. This can only occur if those of us who are Christians become active disciplers. The Bible summons every disciple of Jesus to be investing in someone else—every disciple a disciplemaker! This fits with the vision for our church that God has given us: Follow. Connect. Make. (Make disciples). Whom are you discipling?
As Dr. Coleman says in a later book, “Discipling men and women is the priority around which our lives should be oriented” (The Master Plan of Discipleship, p. 9). That means we must come alongside newer Christians and less mature believers to help them get established in their walk with Christ. For example, we need to spend time helping them learn: how to study the Bible, how to use various Bible study tools, how to pray, how to use their spiritual gifts, how to share their faith with others, how to handle their money from a biblical perspective, and the importance of becoming active in a church family. Newer Christians desperately need hands-on training in these kinds of things!
The bottom line, friends, is that God has entrusted a great responsibility in bringing so many people into our church family. In the years ahead, our church will either flourish or flounder based on how faithful we are in getting down to the business of making disciples. Will you join me in getting involved in others’ lives? Look around, begin to pray, and ask God to show you whom you could invest time in. This is not something that is reserved for spiritual giants! You only need to be a few steps ahead of someone spiritually to help mentor them. The Kingdom will be bettered, and I guarantee that the rewards to you personally will be tremendous. No more excuses: time to be a disciplemaker!
by Jay Childs, Senior Pastor