Category Archives: Discipleship

Baptized Believer to Baptizing Disciple Maker

Churches talk a lot about the Spiritual Milestone of Baptism. It’s a great next step for the person who has put their faith in Christ. BUT, have you experienced the milestone of baptizing someone else? Jesus commissioned EVERY believer to “Go… make disciples… BAPTIZING them… teaching them…” (Matthew 28:18-20). Did you know that Jesus didn’t baptize anyone? He let his disciples do that (See John 4:2). He wanted them to have the joy of leading others in their next steps in the faith. And it is a joy! a rush!

Who have you Baptized? At the church we attend, if you bring someone to Christ, we want you to have the joy of baptizing them. Where do I start?

  • Make a list of people in your life that need to know Jesus and respond to his offer of salvation.
  • Pray for them everyday. Pray for open eyes and open hearts.
  • Get clear on the Gospel. Get trained to share the Gospel. Here’s a 30 minute personal training – LINK.
  • Pray for opportunities to talk to your friend(s) about the Gospel.
  • Start a Bible Study and invite friends to it.
  • (not an exhaustive list. If this is important to you, you’ll find a way.)

Jesus wants us all to be Baptized believers in Him. But Jesus also wants us to be fruit bearing, obedient BAPTIZERS of new disciples.

Goal: Baptize at least one friend in 2022. Who’s in?

Send me the first name of your friend(s) so I can pray for them as well.

Do We Need a New Script for Church?

The decline of evangelicalism is well noted. While it’s never as bleak as presented, and there is no reason to fear. God is always working and has His people working too. Concerning is the inability of churches and leaders to adjust to changing realities and embrace different strategies. Programmatic approaches are simply not having the impact they did 20 years ago. How must we adjust? Flip the script from church centric, preacher centered thinking, to disciple centric, equipping church thinking.

Our Current Script about Church:

  • A Church has a preacher, who shares the Gospel, utilizing years of training and experience.
  • Members invite friends to the church to hear the gospel and get involved in programs that help them grow.
  • The church adds people to membership. New believers are baptized. Already believers are indoctrinated into the practices of this church.
  • Members grow and are ENCOURAGED to invite their friends and family to church to hear the gospel from the preacher and respond during the events at the church.

Nothing wrong or sinful about this script. But consider this alternative way of thinking for a new day.

Flipping the Script:

  • A disciple has a network of relationships.
  • He/she shares the gospel utilizing simple tools.
  • The disciple is encouraged, equipped, and held accountable by other disciples in a simple church that is focused on disciple making and fulfilling the Great Commission.
  • New disciples are baptized and immediately equipped by a Disciple Maker and Disciple Making Community (i.e Church) to share the gospel with their network of relationships using simple tools.

Church is vital as an equipper and encourager of the Disciple’s walk and ministry. Every disciple is a gospel sharer, not just the preacher. Everything doesn’t hang on the preacher’s ability to present the gospel. The Gospel spreads through relationships, not just through church sponsored events.

How might this script affect your current church?

The Soul Sustaining Habit of Scripture Memory

A few years ago, our family was going through one of those down seasons in the ups and downs of life. My mental focus and physical health was declining. I was discouraged and struggling mentally and emotionally. I knew I needed to change a few habits. As part of a recovery process, I deleted a bunch of apps on my phone (which might help you in and of itself) and dusted off an app I had dutifully downloaded but never utilized: The Bible Memory App. I’m now over three years of daily usage. I have over 1,800 verses mastered in the app and review 25-50 verses everyday, during my devotional time, at spare moments throughout the day, and before bed. The habit of scripture memory has greatly improved my spiritual and mental health. It’s helped my preaching, speaking, and my discipling of others, as a growing library of verses are easily recalled in conversation and speaking opportunities. I also have a growing network of friends who are making the habit of scripture memory important, holding each other accountable, and finding the treasure that is God’s word ultimate for sustaining their soul.

While the Bible Memory App has worked for me, I don’t want to recommend that only. There are other good apps and tools out there. I want to recommend the soul sustaining habit of scripture memory. Find a way that works for you to hide God’s word in your heart.

Here are several posts I’ve written about Scripture Memory and the Bible Memory App:

  • Cultivating the Habit of Scripture Memory – Link
  • Why and How to Memorize Scripture – Link
  • Getting Started with the Bible Memory App – Link

Start More Groups with Three Simple Questions

In today’s cultural climate, starting small Discovery Bible Studies may be the new front door into the kingdom of God. Disciples who make disciples need to learn the skill of multiplying groups, gathering people around the word of God who will gather people around the word of God. It’s not hard. Get ready by:

  • Get real familiar with the Gospel and with simple strategies to spread it – LINKLINK.
  • Learning to Recognize and Look for Persons of Peace or Spiritually Interested People around you – LINKLINK.
  • Ask these three questions when you find them:
  1. Would you be interested in reading / exploring / discussing the Bible to discover more about God?
  2. Who else do you know that might be interested?
  3. When would you like to start?

Gathering people around the word of God in groups that will multiply is a primal practice of disciples who make disciples. Don’t complicate it. Open your eyes, ask these questions, and start a group.

Contagious Relationships

“The most reliable predictor of conversion is relationships, especially preexisting, positive relationships. No movement can sustain exponential growth if expansion is primarily the responsibility of paid professionals.”

“Whatever someone’s prior beliefs, he is far more likely to adopt a new faith if he witnesses a friend or family member convert to the faith.”

“There are many factors that influence the decision to adopt a new faith, but the most important factor is a close and positive relationship with a committed participant.”

“If a church becomes too tight, it will become socially isolated; it may keep it’s members, but it will not grow.”

“Jesus moved from village to village looking for responsive people who would take the good news into the world of their relationships.”

– Steve Addison in Movements that Change the World – chapter on Contagious Relationships

One of the simplest ways to grow the kingdom and our churches is to lead people to identify the people around them who are far from God and train them how to share the faith with them.

  • Who’s Your One? LINK
  • Check out Ying Kai’s “List of 25” – LINK
  • Check out David Watson’s Prayer Calendar – LINK
  • We’ve used No Place Left’s Oikos Map – LINK

Come up with your own, but the gospel must spread again through relationships in today’s culture.

Have you seen the Seed Sower App?

Great tool to track your gospel sharing. Tracks people at different types of responses to the gospel, forms prayer list, and groups. Coming in 2.0 is the ability to form a church and every time the gospel is shared by someone in your church your phone will vibrate. Ha! Loving this app. Check it out. What apps help you with evangelism, gospel sharing, and disciple making?

There it is! The Great Commission!

Message from a 40-something year old, lifelong church attender in the south after reading the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20.

A few years ago, Barna and the Seed Company released a study that found that 51% of professed Christians did not know about the Great Commission. Only 17% recognized it and could espouse its meaning for the life of the believer. File this under “Issues of our Decline.” If a declining number of a declining number (professed Christians and church attenders) even know one of the primary purpose statements for every believer and every church from the author and founder of our faith, could this be a key indicator of sure decline.

In the Great Commission Jesus lays out the plan for world evangelization.

“Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe everything I have commanded” Matthew 28:19-20.

  • Go – as you spread out across the world
  • Make Disciples – tell and recruit others to follow Jesus
  • of all nations – don’t discriminate. The message about Jesus was and is for all races and people groups
  • Baptizing them – lead them to commit their lives to Jesus
  • Teaching them to observe everything I have commanded – teach them to observe and live by the words of Jesus

The Great Commission gave the early church their marching orders, and its likely that if you are a born again Christian today, it’s only because someone took seriously and observed the Great Commission.

As we establish churches that are more organized, more theologically astute, better with technology, multi-whatever, kid friendly, etc., etc.; let’s not forget the command that launched the movement – The Great Commission. We can’t assume they know. We must return again and again to the basics of our mission espoused by Jesus in the Great Commission.

Questions:

  • Am I living in obedience to the Great Commission by making disciples where I live and work?
  • Am I impressing the Great Commission on those I influence and lead?
  • How is my church passing on the Great Commission to those in our congregation?
  • Does your church have a plan to make disciples? Is it working? (Robby Gallaty)
  • How can we make the Great Commission known in our churches and groups?

Memorize One, Get Five for Free

This verse is repeated six times in the Old Testament and is great to memorize and meditate on during the month of November.

1 Chronicles 16:34 – “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, his faithful love endures forever.”

(Also found at Psalm 106:1; 107:1; 118:1; 118:29; 136:1).

So you can memorize one and say you memorized six! Lol!

Thanksgiving Memory Verses

Join me in memorizing 30 Thanksgiving verses on the Bible Memory App this month: LINK.

I’ve used the Bible Memory App daily for almost three years now. It’s been a great devotional tool. Helps me hide the word in my heart. And, only 100% better than scrolling Facebook/Twitter/Snapchat/TikTock, or whatever. Start a new habit with the Bible Memory App.

  • Get Started with the Bible Memory App – LINK
  • Cultivating the Habit of Scripture Memory – LINK
  • Why and How to Memorize Scripture – LINK
  • Develop a New Habit: Scripture Memory – LINK
  • How to Get a Grip on the Bible – LINK

Five OLD Innovations for Our NEW Day

It’s a new day. New normals will emerge. Our churches are picking up new technologies and new innovations to help us continue to deliver the gospel. In this season of new, of change, of adaptation, there may also be some OLD innovations that we need to circle back to. As we reset our churches over the coming days, consider resetting these five practices and attitudes:

1. The Prayer Chain – Principle: Mobilize Prayer for the Church and the Lost.

Growing up Southern Baptist, every church my family was a part of had a prayer chain. The prayer chain was a phone network built to mobilize prayer quickly when need arose in the congregation or community. How can your congregation be more effective at mobilizing prayer for one another, for the lost, for the community? Today, we have technologies available to us that can greatly enhance the impact of prayer mobilization. We all encourage prayer. How can we move from encouraging prayer to mobilizing prayer? What innovative approaches to prayer can we develop in the new normal?

2. Discipleship Training – Principle: Train the Faithful to Train Others.

The creativity of churches has grown tremendously over the last 20 years. Graphic design, stage design, sermon series design. We have to ask the question: Are these innovations actually helping us make disciples and train the faithful to disciple others. Discipleship Training, or Training Union, was designed to deliver the core truths of Christianity to the faithful. Now is a great time to assess our churches effectiveness at training disciples. A disciple is trained when they can train others. How did that go while the church was scattered? How many of your members were able to train their families, neighbors, small groups while the church was closed? How can your church be more effective at disciple making and training?

3. The Prospect File – Principle: Help People Identify the Lost Around Them.

We often bemoan the fact that people in yester-years were more apt to attend church than they are today. However, we could also argue that churches of the past were more aggressive at pursuing their lost friends, family and neighbors than we are today. Visitation night was common for churches in past decades. Visitation night was driven by the Prospect File compiled by people in Sunday School classes in the church. Prospect lists were a way for churches to identify lost people in their church field and in the lives of the congregation. Today, the Who’s Your One? Campaign has been a new innovation in this regard. How can your church be more effective at helping people identify the lost around them? As we’ve grown more inward, focusing programs on the already saved, the lost have become more distant from our churches, but also from our minds. It’s time to revive the Prospect File.

4. Soul-Winning and Personal Evangelism – Principle: Every believer is an evangelist.

Remember the soul-winning rally? I attended several of these as a young person in a Southern Baptist Church. This emphasis helped rally people to the cause of leading others to Christ. There were concerted efforts to help people know how to share their faith and understand the urgency of sharing their faith. Over the years, innovations like Evangelism Explosion, Share Jesus Without Fear, FAITH Evangelism Training, and our own One to One Evangelism, have helped believers in this regard. With less than 10% of believers testifying that they share their faith regularly, and baptisms down another 20% in 2019 across Louisiana, it’s time for every church to train and emphasize personal evangelism for a new era. How can your church reset the idea and the effort to make every believer an evangelist? More than inviting people to church, we need a revival of inviting people to Jesus through personal evangelism.

5. Start New Units – Principle: The Kingdom Expands through the Multiplication of New Groups and Churches.

For Southern Baptist in the highest growth days of our Convention, a new unit was a new class or congregation birthed through and for evangelism and disciple making. New groups and new churches lead to new people and different types of people being reached. This needs to be a mindset and a practice. The opposite mindset is institutional thinking. This mindset makes us more concerned about available space, protecting inside opinions, and self-preservation. Multiplication and new unit thinking puts reaching the lost through any means necessary and the growth of the kingdom above all else. We have over 2.5 million lost in Louisiana. Their eternity is in the balance. Consider the possibilities for reaching them in your community. How many new groups are possible in your current space? How can you create more space for new groups? Are there areas, people groups, population segments in your community that needs a new church that can communicate the gospel to them?

Mobilizing Prayer, Training Disciples, Identifying the Lost, Winning Souls, Starting New Units. Old Innovations that are desperately needed for this new day. May they be part of our new normal.

Primal Reactions

When times get hard we often return to our primal instincts. Primal means by nature or instinct. It may also refer to the earliest form of something.

Some of our Primal Instincts:

  • Survival and Reproduction are often called the most basic instincts. Revealing themselves in most of the others.
  • Food or Desire to Eat. Hunger.
  • Fear. The Fight or Flight response to events.
  • Breathing. The body has primal reflexes to try to secure air ways.
  • Health and Wellness. When we get sick we have a drive to diagnose and get well
  • Addictions can become primal instincts, taking over our brain and hijacking our desires.
  • Love and Family. Nature calls Mom to care for the family and Dad to provide for the family.

So what did you do? How did you react when uncertainty and difficulty and pressure came? Our primal reactions to difficulty tell us about ourselves and may highlight area of spiritual immaturity. So did you… 

  • Choose Fear or faith?
  • Choose Division or unity?
  • Hoard or give?
  • Demonstrate Anger or joy?
  • Create Tension or peace?
  • Lash out or Encourage?
  • Hide out or stay connected?
  • Pray or Worry?
  • Obey Jesus or Obey your lust?
  • Witness or Complain?
  • Depend on God or handle it yourself?

Your primal reactions will show you some areas of potential spiritual growth. The good new is, Jesus is in the business of transforming our nature, our instincts. Check out some of favorite verses on the subject of transformation: 

2 Corinthians 5:17

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and see, the new has come!”

Ephesians 4:22-24 

22 to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, 23 to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth.

2 Peter 1:4

By these he has given us very great and precious promises, so that through them you may share in the divine nature, escaping the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.

Galatians 2:20

I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

Ezekiel 36:26-27

26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will place my Spirit within you and cause you to follow my statutes and carefully observe my ordinances.

Jesus gives us a new nature when we put our faith and trust in him. Do you need to start there and ask Jesus to enter your life and give you a new nature, replacing the corrupt, basic instinct of this world with his presence and transformation? “Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” Romans 10:13. Saved from the old nature, to put on the brand new. 

When we do that, some of our old nature may hang on and not let go. As we submit to Jesus everyday, we can gain the advantage in that area. Is there an area of your life that does not line up with the divine nature? Did our current crisis reveal areas of weakness in your faith? Maybe you need to seek God today, repent, and ask him to empower you in that area.

This is true for the church as well. We need to return to our Primal Roots to be fruitful and effective in this culture. And that, we’ll uncover later this week. 

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