What is Discipleship?
Thank you for your interest in Personal Discipleship. this brochure will first give you a brief description of discipleship and its importance, then it will explain the commitment of Grace Bible Church to discipleship and opportunities for your involvement.
Jesus’ Command to Make disciples.
In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus said "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age" (NASB). This is often referred to as the "Great commission."
The command is based on Jesus having all authority in heaven and on earth. He has the right, power and freedom to do as He pleases and to command others to do as He wills. The true Christian should be marked by their willing obedience to Jesus because it is their responsibility to obey Him.
Jesus expects His followers to obey His commands (John 14:21,23). It is ludicrous for someone to say that they believe Jesus’ claims and trust Him for salvation and at the same time reject what He says and not submit to His authority. That only proves they do not truly believe His claims about Himself and therefore do not know Him (see Matthew 7:21-23).
The statement is one command accomplished in three elements. There is one verb, "make disciples," with three participles: "going," "baptizing," and "teaching." We are to "make disciples" by "going," "baptizing," and "teaching."
The command itself is to make disciples. Whatever else the church does, the center of its focus needs to be in making disciples. Our fellowship, our ministries, and even our worship all center around being and making disciples.
What is a Disciple?
A disciple is simply someone who follows the teachings of another. A disciple learns from their teacher. They identify with the teacher. They seek to be like the teacher. Jesus gave the following description in Luke 6:40: "A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone whos is perfectly trained will be like his teacher" (NKJV).
We are aware that there are those that claim that being a disciple of Jesus is separate from being saved, but a "Christian" is a disciple of Jesus Christ by definition. Acts 11:26 records "… and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch./" The term "Christian" means to be "a little Christ" or a "Christ one." True Christians are those who identify themselves with Jesus Christ and are followers of His teachings. Paul tells us in Romans 8:29 that God has predistined Christians to "be conformed to the image of His Son." True Christians are new creations (2 Corinthians 5:17) who are becoming more like Christ. Salvation in Christ cannot be separated from being a follower of Christ.
Jesus’ command is that we make disciples. But in order to make a disciple of Christ, you must first be a disciple of Christ. We need to be like Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:1 calling people to "be imitators of me just as I also am of Christ." We then carry our the work of making disciples by going, baptizing and teaching.
GRACE BIBLE AND DISCIPLESHIP
At Grace Bible Church, we are serious about fulfilling Jesus’ command to make disciples.
Our church motto is taken from this commandment. Glorifying God by Making Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. This expression summarizes our purpose as a church and our goal for all that would join with us. We desire to be like Jesus and want to help others to be like Him also.
Our Purpose Statements
Our four-fold purpose statement is also based on the Great Commission. Each element explains an aspect of either being a follower of Jesus and/or how we help others to become like Him.
Communication New Life in Christ – Evangelism
In Mark 16:15 Jesus commanded, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation." Going out to evangelize sinners is the first step in making a disciple of Jesus Christ. Evangelism is telling others the good news that by God’s grace, our sins can be forgiven through faith in Jesus Christ and His death on the cross on our behalf. In order for someone to become a follower of Jesus, they must know who He is and what He has done for them. Our efforts in this area include local outreach and cross cultural and distant missions efforts.
When people respond to the gospel they are to be baptized. This is the element of making a disciple. Baptism is the last step of evangelism and the first step of obedience in a new believer’s walk of faith. Baptism does not save and it is only for those who believe. Baptism is an act of faithful obedience in public identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (Romans 6).
Caring for New Life in Christ – Fellowship
In John 15:12 Jesus said, "This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you." This is only one of many Biblical commands concerning the care that Christians are to have for one another and for the unsaved (Matthew 5:16; Galatians 6:10). True Christian fellowship is the practice of all the "one another" commands of Scripture. Our love for God must be demonstrated in a true love of people. It includes practical help, sharing of resources, encouragement, and at times, rebuke and admonition.
Cultivating New Life in Christ – Edification
Ephesians 4:11-16 explains how the church is to function. It is the body of Christ and it is to be about the business of building one another up in Christ to maturity. "Edification" is "building one another up in Christ." This is the ministry of "teaching them to observe all that I commanded you." It includes the preaching and teaching at group levels and the personal teaching that occurs in true fellowship. Teaching is not just imparting academic knowledge, bu the transfer of wisdom, which is the application of that knowledge in living daily life for the glory of God. That usually takes personal interaction and stresses the importance of developing relationships in the church.
Celebrating New Life in Christ – Worship
Jesus told the woman in John 4:23,24 that God seeks true worshipers, and that "those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." The product of discipleship should be people that are true worshipers of God.
True worship is about God and not how people feel. It is coming to give of yourself sacrificially to God instead of coming to get. It can be hard work and can leave you uncomfortable as you come into an awareness of the absolutely holy God. True worship prods you to holy living.
PERSONAL DISCIPLESHIP AT G.B.C.
It is our desire that personal discipleship occurs at many levels at Grace Bible Church.
Large Group Ministries & Events
Our worship services are a mass discipleship effort in terms of both worship and edification. Yet even here we encourage personal interaction so that fellowship and personal edification can take place. We sponsor social events and "Fellowship Sundays" for the purpose of encouraging people to become acquainted and develop relationships with one another.
Small Group Ministries & Events
Home Bible Fellowships, specialized Bible studies, and ministry teams are efforts to disciple small groups of people in a more personal way. It is in the context of these small groups that most true Christian fellowship actually occurs for they facilitate the development of the deeper personal relationships that are necessary for such fellowship. Social events planned for various smaller groups are designed for the purpose of encouraging people to get to know each other better and develop the relationships needed for true fellowship to occur. We invite you to take part in these ministries and events that more personal discipleship may occur in your life.
One to One Ministries
Most individual ministries and discipleship occur in the context of relationships that have developed in small and large group ministries. For the most part, these are not designed ministries, but are the natural outflow of loving one another.
For new and immature Christians, individual or small group discipleship on the basics of Christian living is arranged for those interested. Contact the pastor if you are interested.
Small group and individual discipleship is also arranged for those in leadership training.