One of the major factors among growing churches is an aggressive one-on-one discipleship ministry. When planting a church, the most important thing a church planter can do is to disciple new converts. We have said for years in our ministry, “We add through evangelism, we multiply through discipleship.” I have found that the larger the church becomes and the busier I have become in administration, visitation, and other things, that one-on-one discipleship has become a challenge. I have determined that in 2013, I am personally going to disciple new converts and challenge our grounded believers to do the same. There are five things that personally discipling a new believer will do for a pastor:
1. Personal Discipleship Is a Reminder
It is easy to limit our ministry of the Word to exegesis and counseling each week. Discipleship reminds us that we still must play an active role in fulfilling the Great Commission! When we lead through obedient lives, the people that God puts into our care will lovingly follow our example.
2. Personal Discipleship Is a Refresher
There is nothing more refreshing than to see new converts growing and going in their faith! With the pressures and challenges of preaching and pastoring each week, one of the greatest joys that I have is when I am asked by a new convert “How do you pray”? I find nothing more refreshing than to be around new Christians! By the way, discipleship also keeps us in touch with the basics of our faith and keeps our hearts fresh about the Gospel and other foundational truths!
3. Personal Discipleship Is a Revealer
Because of the busyness of ministry, it is easy to get disconnected from the church family and lose sense of the spiritual needs in the flock. One of the great ways to stay connected to the church and the spirit of the church is to personally disciple new believers. When working and praying with our new converts, God touches my heart as a pastor and reveals some needs of our congregation. I remind you that Jesus was a man who was “among the people.”
4. Personal Discipleship Is a Remover
When something that we are doing as a church is not helping us fulfill the Great Commission, it really is a waste of our time. When we stay focused on reaching the lost, baptizing them, then discipling our converts, it removes many of the things that we do and makes us focus on what is really important to God—PEOPLE! There are some things we cannot administrate and organize our way out of, discipleship is one of these things! We must remove some things that occupy our time and life and get back to the basics!
5. Personal Discipleship Is a Reviver
Discipleship is an open secret to personal and corporate revival in our lives and churches. I have never preached at a dead church that has an active discipleship program. When Christians are teaching new Christians, they are being revived as they teach, the disciples are being revived as they grow! There is a wonderful spirit amongst a people that are serious about seeing people grounded and growing in their faith!
Hiding behind the door of an office and burying yourself under paperwork is necessary at times, but as quickly as possible, grab a new convert, meet him for a cup of coffee, and get stuck into his life! He will benefit greatly from this, but quite frankly, you will benefit more!