Evangelism is great, but the goal isn’t to get people baptized. The goal, rather, is to bring new people into the process of full devotion to Christ and His cause. Once people are baptized because they’ve accepted the gospel message, can we turn them into definitely devoted disciples?
The church must have a discipleship plan. Discipleship is defined by these three levels: (Thanks to my associate Chad Carlton for this fundamental definition)
- Learning to be like Jesus – this involves learning about Jesus, learning to follow Him in obedience, being an apprentice, following the lamb wherever He goes (Revelation 14)
- In Loving Community – part of discipleship is being in community, in a small group, taking care of each other, support, accountability, learning together, serving together and helping others together.
- Leading Others to do the Same – you really aren’t a disciple until you have helped someone else become a disciple. Influencing, sharing, teaching, inviting, leading, discipling, or any combination of those terms.
Discipleship is a full-blown commitment to Jesus – Learning to be like Him, Loving in community, and Leading others to follow Him too. The goal isn’t a bunch of wet people (as awesome as baptisms are). The goal is to go into all the world and make disciples.
“Jesus came and told his disciples, ‘I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’” Matthew 28:18-20 NLT http://bible.com/116/mat.28.18-20.nlt
So where are you on that path? That’s the trick. It’s a life-long process for all disciples. You have to always learn, always be in a loving community and always leading others. Not on that path yet, still seeking? That’s okay, come along and begin learning with us.