Developing Disciples

This post is a reflection of what I have learned during my semester of “Congregational Spiritual Formation.”

A Key Observation:

            One thing I have observed is that the Church does not do a great job of helping people to grow into mature believers. Our tradition loves to get people into a baptistry with the assurance of going to heaven when they die. But after that, many (or even most, across churches) cease to grow. They remain spiritual infants. We must do a better job of helping people to mature in the faith. Even further, our only “means” of discipleship is the Sunday School, of which, typically only a fraction of the congregation participates.

A Partial Solution:

            In the Sunday School and the worship service, we teach people about the Bible and about Christ. We give facts and hope that people will internalize them and apply them. But truth be told, all we can do in the time that we have together is to provide familiarity. We cannot cause people to grow spiritually.

What Is Needed:

            We are called to be a church that “makes disciples who make disciples.” Discipleship is not a once-a-week thing. It is the call to daily “take up your cross and follow Me” (Matt. 16:24). It is a life that is taught in Christian homes and lived out in Christian community with other members of the body of Christ. It is the responsibility of all of us to grow as disciples together. So, we will develop resources to help our senior members disciple our younger members. We will help our parents disciple their children. We will not simply “teach more.” We will equip our members to exercise the spiritual disciplines of prayer, study, service, and others. We owe this to the Lord who rescued us from perishing!