At the 2017 Southern Baptist Convention, I was honored to share the stage with a few other men at Midwestern Seminary‘s annual For The Church micro-conference. We each got 8 minutes to speak to a specific issue related to the church and to church ministry. I took 10, I’m sorry to say — not really — as I addressed “Why Discipleship Matters.”
Drawing from Jesus’ words in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19), I proposed this outline:
1. Discipleship matters because fidelity to Christ matters.
2. Discipleship matters because the integrity of the church matters.
3. Discipleship matters because the expansion of God’s glory matters.
I spoke (briefly, of course) to issues like dwindling baptism and membership numbers, the apparently decline of evangelism in the church, and that recurring social media habit of some pastors to post their weekly “catch,” and I tried to suggest some root causes — and solutions. I pray it challenges and blesses you.
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– Jesus said to “make disciples.” If we are only aiming at getting people to pray the sinner’s prayer, we are only partially obeying Jesus. And partially obeying Jesus is disobeying Jesus.
– Let’s remember that Christ has called us not simply to make converts but to “make disciples.”
– We’ve got moral relativism in our personal spirituality, therapeutic religion in our theology, consumeristic pragmatism in our ministry.
– The reason large swaths of evangelicals today have no problem setting biblical teaching aside to affirm the idolatries of our culture, setting orthodoxy aside to flirt with repackaged modern heresies is because they’ve perhaps been led in a prayer but they haven’t been led to deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow Jesus.
– God’s vision for the world is not primarily the bigness of the church but the bigness of his own manifest presence in every nook and cranny of the world.
– Let’s consider the theory that one reason we aren’t reaching as many people with the gospel is because we’ve relocated the primary evangelistic event to the Sunday morning service, basically saying evangelism is the job of a few experts.
– Maybe we’d baptize more on Sunday if we better discipled our people to share the gospel Monday through Saturday.
– Maybe our failure to disciple the converts we make is why we’re making fewer converts.
Watch the other FTC micro-conference talks, including addresses from Mark Dever, Jason Allen, Al Mohler, Thom Rainer, Owen Strachan, and SBC President Steve Gaines.