I recently wrote a post reflecting on my first year as a pastor. I want to write a bit more about something I’ve learned over the past year and become more and more convinced of lately. I know this is not new but I am discovering it anew and that is why I am sharing it. Here it is: Intentional discipleship is not optional and is vital for the health of a church.
Even in a small church like the one I pastor it is so easy to just be a Sunday morning only Christian. It is deeply upsetting to me that a Christian could go through their life with a stagnant, never growing, knowledge of the things of God. Even if someone like John MacArthur was your pastor this would still be an issue. If the only time you spend learning about God is during a one hour period once a week you will struggle to see real growth and maturity.
So, since I desire to see the church I lead grow in spiritual maturity I’m left with but one option: discipleship. I’m still hashing out what this will look like in our context. My hope is to start a sort of trial program on a small scale early next year and learn from that experience to expand it to more people in the church. The goals, whatever shape the program takes, will be to study God’s Word in community,to hold each other accountable, to lift each other up in prayer, and to reproduce. What I mean by that last one is that the goal would be for the people in the discipleship group to be equipped to each go out and disciple others. To help them get to a point of spiritual maturity and Scriptural understanding that they could come alongside a fellow believer and disciple them.
As I work through this and begin to implement it I will try and post some updates. Maybe my experiences will be helpful to other pastors in similar circumstances (small, rural congregations). If you want to hear a powerful and helpful sermon about discipleship, check out this link which is a sermon David Platt preached at a church planting conference.