This week I looked at the second of the six purposes of the church--DISCIPLESHIP. The Great Commission (Matthew 28:-18-20) tells us to teach new disciples obey everything I (Jesus) have commanded you. There is more to the church than evangelism! Once we have a new person in Christ, we must help them grow into all the Lord expects them to be. In baseball, we don't get so excited by someone getting on base that we we forget that the purpose is not just to get on base, but to cross home plate and score a run! In the church we sometimes DO have that problem. We get so excited that someone has come to the Lord that we forget that is just the first step.
Discipleship is about facilitating spiritual growth in Christians. Spiritual growth is not automatic. Spiritual maturity is not measured by how much you know. Spiritual maturity is not some mystical, unobtainable goal. The best definition of discipleship is "make one to be one!"
There are several ways that the church can help a disciple to grow--Bible studies, Sunday School Class, preaching, fellowship, service and mission opportunities are some of those. There are also things that we do as individuals that help us to grow into the disciples the Lord expects us to be. Bible study, prayer, devotional time, helping others, and giving of our time, talent, and treasure.
The greatest thing about discipleship is the way it affects the church. A church that has men and women maturing as disciples will be a growing church! Actually when a church stops making and developing disciples, it is no longer a church, but a club. The lost don't need another club to join, they need a church to love and support them, to help them to grow, and to help them become all that God would have them be.