As a church leader or pastor, you may wonder how to start the disciple-making process within a church plant. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. There are, however, some fundamental things to remember as you seek to make disciples in your church plant. This blog post will explore key considerations for making disciples in a church plant.
Defining Disciple and Discipleship
A disciple can be defined as someone who aligns their life according to the teachings of Jesus Christ, committing themselves to follow God with all their being. This means applying the Gospel and its related teachings and developing a meaningful relationship with Jesus in every facet of life. In addition, discipleship is a commitment to lifelong learning from other believers and the Bible to grow in our spiritual walk and share it with others. This lifelong dedication leads to transformation, allowing us to become more like Christ and use our lives for Kingdom-building.
The Priority of Every Church
Making disciples should be a priority in every church, especially in church plants. With the Great Commission in Matthew 28 urging all believers to “go and make disciples,” we are responsible for teaching others about Jesus and His love. This task is critical in a church plant setting, where we are working to bring new believers into the body of Christ and grow a new local church community. When we work together towards making disciples that make more disciples, our churches will not just survive – they can thrive.When we work together towards making disciples that make more disciples, our churches will not just survive - they can thrive. Click To Tweet
The Stages of Discipleship
The discipleship process can be broken down into three primary stages—coming to faith, growing in faith, and going with faith. Our local church uses the terms “Make – Equip – Release.” The terms don’t matter s much as the function.
In the ‘coming to faith’ stage, individuals must first believe and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
During the ‘growing’ stage, those who have come to faith must be equipped with the tools necessary to learn more about God’s Word.
Lastly, at the ‘going with faith’ stage, disciples need to begin living out their newfound understanding of God’s Word by sharing it with others.
As church planters help people progress through each stage using loving guidance and mentorship, they will succeed in making the most effective disciples possible.
Make Disciples in your Day-to-Day
We must recognize the value of marketplace ministry and discipleship in daily interactions. These can be done in small ways, like conversations at work or in the community. We must be intentional about seeking out these opportunities to further spread the Gospel and reach people who may not come to our church services. It’s also essential to take action when needed – if someone needs prayer, compassion, or help, it’s a great chance to live out our faith by helping others. Practically living out Jesus’s call to make disciples should be a top priority for all disciples intent on growing His kingdom, so let’s be ready for what looks different based on context.
The Importance of Community
When it comes to discipleship, having a sense of community is essential for transformation and spiritual growth. Being in an environment where others can affirm, challenge, encourage, and support you is invaluable regarding Christian life transformation.
Evidence suggests that transformation happens best in small groups and within relationships; if this context can be recreated in a new church, it will no doubt benefit everyone as they go through their discipleship journey.
Knowing when you’ve been successful in making disciples can be subjective and hard to quantify. However, when individuals start to show clear signs of making disciples themselves, it signals real success in the spiritual growth of the church members. This could mean sharing their faith with others, discussing deeper spiritual topics, and providing meaningful support for each other.
Knowing when your church members have reached this level is a sure sign that you’ve successfully worked through the process of disciple-making together. Success is a funky word, but I use it to capture the overall thought. Success, however, seems final when the cycle of making disciples is ongoing… always. So maybe counting success instead as a “win” is more appropriate.
Making disciples is uniquely important when it comes to church plants. Careful thought must be applied to properly shape and mold the lives of those who have come to faith in Jesus through the excellent ministries provided by your church. By understanding what it means to make a disciple and taking steps within your church plant to ensure that new believers are being discipled and equipped, you will be helping your church grow in ways you never thought possible.
Through determination and persistence, there is no limit to how much success you can achieve when making disciples within your church plant. You must be willing to go through the different stages of discipleship with each person, providing teaching and guidance throughout the process. Doing so takes investment, humility, courage, and, ultimately, trust in God’s provisions every step of the way. A sense of community should always permeate any disciple-making efforts. Building relationships is vitally important for this type of ministry.
We Can Do This!
At the end of the day, you’ll know that you’ve been successful in making a disciple when you see individuals who were once unsure about fundamental aspects of their faith have grown and become confident in their newfound knowledge and walk with Christ because those under your care have accepted him as Lord and Savior. Now they serve him with absolute confidence due to all they’ve learned from you throughout what was an amazing journey!