Our new sermon series - The First Songs of Christmas - begins this Sunday, November 27.

NEXT STEPS

Let us help you take your next step

Within our body, we have people at all different levels of maturity in their walk with Jesus. As a church, our goal is to help people become more mature regardless of where they currently are. So we have developed a Discipleship Path as a guide to help each person evaluate his or her spiritual maturity and identify “next steps” that they can take in their journey with Jesus.

Our discipleship path

Obviously no diagram can perfectly capture the process of discipleship, which is a life-long pursuit for every disciple of Jesus. Although we have broken the process down into five distinct steps, the truth is that there is often a lot of overlap between these steps. It is also true that at least the last three steps – grow, serve, and share – are not steps that are ever fully completed during our lifetime, but rather actions that ought to characterize the life of a believer throughout his or her life. But as long as we keep those limitations in mind, this discipleship path can be a helpful tool in identifying the next steps in each person’s spiritual development.

Come

When two of John’s disciples began to follow Jesus and asked where He was staying, Jesus invited them to “Come and you will see.” (John 1:39). The next day Jesus invited Philip to follow Him and immediately Philip went and found Nathaniel and invited him to “Come and see.” (John 1:46). The first step in the discipleship path is to be introduced to Jesus.

As a church we strive to be a place where people from all walks of life can come and be introduced to Jesus. We never expect unbelievers to act like believers until they first get to know Jesus and enter into a personal faith relationship with Him. And since most people attend a new church because someone from that church personally invited them, we encourage our people to invite the people they know to “come and see.”

Commit

Jesus frequently asked people to make a commitment to Him. When He initially called His disciples, He asked them to follow Him (Matthew 4:18-22, 9:9; Mark 1:16-20). Later, when Jesus called His disciples to a deeper level of commitment, many of them found it to be too hard, but there were some who were willing to make that commitment (John 6:60-69).

There are three essential commitments for a disciple of Jesus:

  • To place one’s faith in Jesus Christ alone as the basis for being reconciled to God and entering into a personal relationship with Him (John 14:6; Ephesians 2:8-9)
  • To be obedient to Jesus and testify to that faith through baptism by immersion.
  • To commit to membership in a local church.
Although only faith in Jesus is required for salvation, the other two commitments serve as evidence that a person takes his or her relationship with Jesus seriously and desires to make Jesus Lord as well as Savior.

Grow

The Biblical writers expressed the need for disciple of Jesus to grow in their relationship with Him in several different ways:
  • In 1 John 2, John described the process of growths in terms of spiritual children, young men, and fathers.
  • Near the end of his life, the apostle Paul described the Christian life as a race which we are to continue to run our entire lives (Philippians 3:12-15).
  • Peter described Christians as being like newborn babies who long for spiritual milk so that they can grow up (1 Peter 2:2)
  • The author of Hebrews wrote about Christians who still needed spiritual milk, even though they should have matured enough in their faith that they could be teaching others.

Although this is certainly not an exhaustive list, here are some characteristics of disciples of Jesus who are growing in their faith:
  • They regularly spend time hearing, reading, studying, memorizing and meditating and God’s Word – the Bible – both on their own and with others.
  • They have a good understanding of core Biblical doctrines. They know what and why they believe and can communicate that to others.
  • They pray regularly, not merely for the purpose of receiving things from God, but as a means of getting to know God better and edifying others.
  • They have a desire to be obedient to God in order to please Him.
  • They give regularly, generously and cheerfully to support the advancement of God’s kingdom in this world.
  • They desire to live in community and engage in genuine Biblical fellowship with other disciples of Jesus.

Serve

In Ephesians 4 we find that the role of the church leaders, like the Pastor and Elders, is not to do all of the ministry of the church, but rather to equip each and every member to become a minister who carries out the “work of ministry”.

It is our goal to have every member of our church involved in ministry both inside and outside the church body:
  • Within the body, there are many ways to serve. Some of that service is very public, like being a greeter or being a part of the worship team or leading a Bible Study. But there is also a lot of service that occurs behind the scenes, like serving our children in the nursery, preparing and cleaning up after the refreshments each week, or helping out with work days to take care of our facilities.
  • Every member is to serve in the name of Jesus outside the body as well. Some of that service is done corporately as our church serves the community. One of the ways we do that currently is to serve the students and staff at Legacy Traditional School throughout the year through work days at the school, providing meals and sending notes of encouragement.
  • But much of the service that is done takes place informally as we look to meet the needs of others in the name of Jesus. That kind of service often takes place in our families, neighborhoods and jobs and in the community. We encourage each person to find ways to serve others that fit with their personality, talents, resources, and spiritual gifts.

Share

When Jesus commanded His disciples to “make disciples” In the “Great Commission”, He made it clear that our relationship with Jesus is not something that we are merely to hang on to for our own benefit. It is a gift that is to be shared with the world around us. Although Jesus could have chosen any method He wanted to make the gospel message known to others, the process He chose was to have those who have already responded to the gospel message be the ones who share that with others. Undoubtedly, one of the reasons that Jesus does not immediately take us to heaven the moment we place or faith in Him is so that we can carry out that task.

The reason that we have pictured the discipleship path as a circle is to remind us that as disciples of Jesus, we are to come alongside others and help them to make that same journey.