The Bible is the best marriage and parenting manual ever written, but the instruction is scattered throughout it. When we are focusing on a particular topic for study and instruction, it is very helpful to have workbooks. The organization of principles, commands and also some guided questions can bring great success to the process of discipling people within the Church. Christian’s who have been equipped with these tools and have had a season to work them out in their own life, can then step forward to disciple others helping them to work through marriage and parenting issues. This is the way we will see families edified and glorifying God. The Church needs a fresh vision of discipleship with clear priorities if we truly want to change the destructive direction of so many Christian families.
Ask yourself these sobering questions:
- Why do most Christians not understand what it means to be a disciple, or how one goes about becoming a disciple?
- Why do many Christians not tend to the most important privilege they receive with salvation, the opportunity to be with Jesus every day in study and prayer (devotional)?
- Why are many Christians ignorant of the fact that abiding in Christ each day is the place where we receive the power to obey Him?
- Why are so many Christian families hurting and in trouble?
- Has the Church lowered standards on what constitutes a healthy family?
- Is the Church successful when many Christians do not know how to abide in Christ daily and their families are out of God’s will and failing?
- Is the Church successful when a large percentage of its people are ignorant of God’s design and instruction for marriage and parenting?
- Do Churches recognize that conversion is a work of the Holy Spirit, and discipleship is God’s design for edifying His people, which is our part?
- Is the Church’s main purpose to facilitate the spiritual growth—discipleship?
We can all agree that the goal of evangelism is salvation in Jesus Christ. And we can all agree that this is just the beginning of a life that the Scriptures call “abiding in Christ” (John 15:1-8). This is the lifestyle of a disciple of Christ; but just as the spreading of the gospel requires human effort, so does the process of Christian growth. This is where discipling becomes essential, and is a responsibility given to us by Jesus in His Great Commission. Discipleship is a process with a goal; a personal relationship between believers who are encouraging one another to enter into an intimate, abiding relationship with Jesus Christ, to grow in spiritual maturity, and learn how to tend to the things God has given us in His Word. This involves doctrine, instruction, prayer, encouragement, accountability, reproof, correction, time and commitment.
Jesus asks us to spread the gospel and make disciples. The most powerful and effective evangelism will result when Christians are abiding in Christ and following God’s Word in obedience to His will. It is then that our lives will reflect and glorify the true and living God to a dark and dying world. It is my prayer that this information on discipleship will inspire you as a Church, bring a new or renewed vision, and that the Lord will raise up many disciples to come alongside others, willing to teach, encourage and exemplify the life of abiding in Jesus and His Word.
Please see the Discipleship Plan flow chart on the last page to help you visualize and understanding the many opportunities to disciple the congregation.