August 31, 2020

Intentional Discipleship

Bill Wilson

Therefore, go and make disciples…

Matthew 28:19

In looking back, I am extremely grateful for the individuals who patiently and consistently taught and modeled for me what it is to be a true Christ-follower. Through their words and ways, they helped me understand the foundational truths of God’s Word and the application for my life. 

In the Great Commission in Matthew 28, Jesus instructs us to “…go and make disciples…  This is not just a suggestion, but a clear directive to the church today and is a primary assignment for us all.  We have learned that not having an intentional discipleship effort in a local church results in ill health, stagnation, and decline. 

For decades, the most common model used for discipleship has been Sunday School. Many of us benefited from this systematic and regular form of discipleship. The Sunday School movement actually was birthed in the mid 18th Century in Great Britain by godly men like William King and Robert Raikes who saw the need of helping poor children understand the basics of education using the Bible as the key textbook. This movement grew and became the universal means of discipleship for all ages into the 21st Century. 

In many situations the traditional Sunday school class still proves to work well.  However, the established Sunday school model is not working in some churches and has been modified or replaced with other equally effective forms of discipleship. They often have included weekly Bible studies, Life Groups, digital discipleship studies and or one-on-one mentoring. It is safe to say that the most effective discipleship provides structure, consistency and allows for interaction and discussion built around the Word of God. The positive results are undeniable.

Whatever approach you choose, this is a perfect time to pause and reconsider the best ways to provide intentional discipleship in this new season in your church.  

Here is what I encourage you to consider:

  1. Honestly review your current discipleship efforts. 
  2. Pray about how you can develop or improve your current discipleship plan.
  3. Tap into the newest digital discipleship tools to enhance your ministry.
    • This may include:  Social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.); YouTube; Podcasting; Blogging and writing articles; Creating videos, short or long, narrative, or documentary; Bible app studies; and email broadcasts or studies.
  4. Put into place the plan that best fits your situation.
  5. Invite people to join you for discipleship adventure.

Not everyone grows at the same rate. Nonetheless, we must be intentional in discipleship. We want to get this right.   

“Expose new Christians to the love of God and community, to great teaching, great relationships, and solid accountability and over time, many will grow into very different people than they were when they first came to Christ. They may grow at different rates and in different measures…” 

Carey Nieuwhof

For additional help, check out the Bible Engagement Project. It's a new initiative being offered by the Assemblies of God USA. The goal is to equip churches with digital Bible study resources to engage all ages in Scripture.    

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. 

2 Peter 3:18

Let’s take on the task of raising up a new generation of well-equipped and disciplined Christ-followers.     

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