Discipleship is the process of a believer’s transformation to Christlikeness that takes place intentionally and relationally in the context of gospel community.
Based on Jesus’ call to His disciples in Matthew 4:19, a disciple is someone who is following Christ, is being changed by Christ, and is committed to the mission of Christ. The life of a disciple is a life of surrender, transformation and mission.
However, discipleship for new believers comes with a unique challenge. New believers come to Christ with years of worldly beliefs, thoughts and habits. They also come to Christ with access to a host of lost family and friends.
The discipleship challenge with new believers includes the need to get the world out of the new believer and to get the new believer into the world. New believers need gospel community where they can learn to pray, grow in the word and share their new found faith in Christ.
There is no cookie-cutter approach to discipleship. But the ingredients to the batter are remarkably similar.
New believers need gospel community where they can learn to pray, grow in the word and share their new found faith in Christ.
Here are a few examples from other North Carolina Baptists who are taking up the unique challenge of discipling new believers.
Discipleship is about relationship where people help each other mature in Christlikeness through life-on-life interaction. Buies Creek First Baptist Church challenges members to be part of discipling triads, where believers equip each other to live on mission for God. Veritas Church in Fayetteville creates community groups where believers can relate regularly with each other and invite lost neighbors to join in.
Praying for the lost
Prayer arms new believers in their struggle against sin and gives them boldness to share the gospel with family, friends and neighbors. Bless Every Home is a free online tool that helps believers pray for opportunities to care for and share the gospel with their neighbors. Renovation Church in Hampstead uses this tool. Neill’s Creek Baptist Church in Angier has started prayer walking neighborhoods as a vital part of their discipleship.
Sharing the gospel
The gospel empowers transformation. When new believers share the gospel, they press its transforming power deeper into their own hearts and wider into the world. The Vine Fellowship in Clinton disciples believers to share the gospel, using the Bible’s grand story of creation, fall, redemption and restoration. South Erwin Baptist Church disciples believers to use the 3 Circles presentation.
Obeying Christ’s commands
Obedience to Christ drives transformation. Transformation takes place as new believers surrender to the commands of Christ. Cool Springs Baptist Church in Sanford has started using the 7 Commands of Christ study to help believers grow in Christlikeness and open up discussion with unbelievers. Likewise, Cartledge Creek Baptist Church near Rockingham takes a similar approach, using the G3 model that explores the Imperative Life of a Christ Follower.
As new disciples mature in Christlikeness, they grow into a life of surrender, transformation and mission.
Pray for an opportunity to take up the unique challenge of discipling a new believer. They have a great capacity to grow deep in the faith and spread wide their gospel influence in the world.