What does discipleship look like in a church? The church members follow Christ in fulfilling the great commission. This involves taking the Gospel as it is to people as they are.
Discipleship is a lifestyle, and therefore, it necessarily takes the ministry of the church into the community. Bible studies are set up in the community, in homes, in dorms, in restaurants. Friendships are made in school and on the job. Lost souls and wayward Christians are ministered to right where they are.
Christ commissioned the church to GO in Matthew 28:19 because the church is not primarily for the lost. It is an embassy for His ambassadors to equip them to GO into the world with the Gospel message and train disciples. The lost will not feel comfortable in the church. And so Christ’s disciples follow His example and go where the people are, then bring new disciples into the church.
Dr. Patrick Briney
MBBC Discipleship Director
The Call to Discipleship
Interested in discipleship? Contact us. Eager disciplers at MBBC, with as much as 30 years of experience, are looking for disciples interested in personal and systematic training to serve Christ.
God selected the Apostle Paul as one of the first role models for Christian discipleship. Paul says in Acts 13:47-48,
“For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”
Unashamed of the Gospel and confident in his calling, Paul exhorted in 1 Corinthians 11:1,
“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”
We are called to do likewise. Not only are we to be disciples of Christ, but we are to train more disciples to do likewise. Second Timothy 2:2 instructs us, saying,
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.”
Discipleship is God’s plan for your life. It is incomparable in the fulfillment and reward enjoyed by those who experience it.
Discipling others requires time, friendship, and training. For many, the training content and materials have been emphasized while the time and friendship have been minimized. Time in quantity has been replaced with time in quality. Friendship is tolerated as long as it is not inconvenient. Thus, discipleship often suffers from being programmed into convenient time slots such as Sunday school hour. I say discipleship suffers because discipleship is a way of life, which inherently involves daily activity morning, noon, and night (Acts 5:42). Discipleship programs that remove this vital element of daily time spent in ministry and friendship often produce anemic disciples. Yes, the transparency of life is scary, but remember, discipleship is not about being perfect. It is about improving our lives as witnesses for Christ. And this involves more than an hour or two a week at church.
Sunday disciples will not produce fruit that is necessary to turn the world upside down (Acts 17:6; 6:7). Rather, such disciples will be trained to focus inwardly. Inward ministry offers training to anyone who will come to church and join a program, a ministry, or a study session at church during church hours. In contrast, Paul and his disciples followed the daily example of Jesus and went to those in need of instruction and training. It is not as efficient for the discipler and the church organization, but it is effective. It is the way Jesus and Paul lived their lives.
Time and friendship can be talked about, but that is a poor substitute for doing it. Yet it is the convenience of talk that makes the elements of time and friendship vulnerable to being neglected in the process of discipleship. Including disciples into your life is uncomfortable and inconvenient. For many, it is far more efficient and convenient to talk about discipleship materials and topics than to practice it as a lifestyle.
Discipling by the Book
Jesus told us what to do and showed us how to do it. Paul role modeled discipleship for us and explained what to teach. So where do you begin? That’s an easy question to answer because Jesus said that the first and great commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. And then there is the second command to love others as yourself. And then Jesus says that everything else falls into place. Now that’s simple and something anybody can do.
The book titled Multiply! Your Life for Christ, by Dr. Patrick Briney, builds on these two commandments and shows how discipleship is done by the Book. It all begins with nurturing your love for God and teaching others to do likewise. For a lesson on how this can transform a congregation, check out Dr. Briney’s free online book called Revival and the Pastor’s Dream Congregation. Visit Dr. Briney’s blog, and ask a question about discipleship.
It is satisfying to discover that there is an authoritative beginning point for discipleship. But how does one nurture a love for God?
God has given us three resources to help us become the very best disciples possible: His Word, His Spirit, and His church. All three are guaranteed to help you grow. But having the resources is still not enough. A disciple must learn the disciplines to use the resources. To learn more about discipleship and discipling others for Christ, get a copy of Multiply! Your Life for Christ, and give it to others. Dr. Briney’s book is designed to demonstrate how discipleship is a process intended to repeat itself over and over again.
When you give your heart to Christ, the Spirit of God controls your life. From this control comes the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit described in Galatians 5:22-23. This fruit is the result of loving God with all your heart, soul, and mind. It is not like artificial fruit resulting from coercion. It is genuine fruit of Christ-likeness.
Unfortunately, the ever-present sin in the flesh seizes every opportunity to spoil the fruit. What can be done to nurture and preserve the fruit of salvation? How can we help ourselves and our disciples not fall by the way side and rot like a neglected fruit tree?
God’s Word has the answers, and during the Mission Blvd. Baptist Church Discipleship Conference in Fayetteville, Arkansas, we look into the inner core of discipleship to get at the heart of what discipleship is all about. Join us to discuss, debate, think, share experiences, and learn more about discipleship.
Looking for a Bible study group to participate in? Click here to find out what we are offering and when.
Looking for resources to help you train yourself or your disciples? Below is a list of downloadable materials we frequently use in our ministry for Apologetics, Evangelism, Followup, Church, and Leadership.
Failure to answer questions convinces some that there are no good reasons to believe the Bible. Too often, Christians have been weakened in their faith or intimidated due to lack of answers.
The following are great faith builders and tools to use on outreach (Proverbs 24:5; 1 Peter 3:15).
1. Answers for Skeptics (English, Spanish, Czech)
Gives evidence for God’s existence, Jesus’ resurrection, Biblical inspiration, and creation, and explains why a loving God allows suffering in the world.
2. Bible Answers to Bible Questions (English)
Answers to over 450 questions most often asked in Bible studies.
3. Convincing the Gainsayers: Deity of Jesus Christ (English, Spanish)
Can you show in Scripture why Jesus is God? Some use the Bible to argue that He is not. This lesson is a written dialogue showing how to answer those who do not believe that Jesus is God.
4. Convincing the Gainsayers: Saved by Grace (English, Spanish)
Can you show in Scripture why salvation is by grace and not works? Some use the Bible to argue that it is by works or both grace and works. This lesson is a written dialogue showing how to answer those who do not believe that salvation is by grace only.
5. Saved by Grace (English, Spanish)
A great little booklet explaining the doctrine of salvation and eternal security (once saved, always saved). Included is a list of grace verses and explanations to frequently twisted “works” verses.
6. Jesus, Lord God and Savior (English, Spanish)
Here is a presentation of verses with explanation of the trinity, showing that Jesus Christ is indeed God as well as the Son of God, though the Son of man, and why Jesus is the only name under heaven given among men whereby they must be saved.
7. Tongues from Heaven (English, Spanish)
There is a lot of confusion about speaking in tongues, but this study shows how and why the tongues of Pentecost were different from the tongues of Corinth and of today.
8. Biblical Predestination and Calvinism’s Errors (English, Spanish)
This manual exposes the fallacies in the Calvinistic presuppositions of T.U.L.I.P., exposes the erroneous interpretation of “predestination” verses, and explains how Biblical predestination allows for free choice.
9. Crucifixion Wednesday (English, Spanish)
Jesus said that He would be in the grave 3 days and 3 nights. Two days and one night are missing between Friday night and Sunday morning. This booklet shows why.
EVANGELISM (The Gospel Truth Series)
A wonderful series for one on one lessons, small groups, self-study, and as a correspondence study. Each lesson systematically guides students from an overview of the Gospel message in lesson one to an expanded explanation of important and frequently asked questions and topics about the Gospel. The goal is salvation or at least an examination of one’s salvation in light of clear Biblical instruction.
1. Knowing God Personally, study guide, (English, Spanish, Portuguese)
This Gospel lesson shows clearly and briefly why and how to be saved. It is great for a one time study or to begin the six lesson Gospel Truth Series.
2. Designed to be Spiritual (study guide) (English, Spanish, Portuguese)
By design we have spiritual needs, and this lesson shows the spiritual cause of anxiety as well as describes the differences between the body, soul, and spirit.
3. Reasons for Human Suffering (study guide) (English, Spanish, Portuguese)
By definition and Scripture, students learn how sin causes spiritual needs, why hell is forever, and why man is utterly powerless to do anything about it.
4. God is the Answer (study guide) (English, Spanish, Portuguese)
An excellent lesson showing why by God’s grace we are saved through faith and why Jesus alone is qualified to save us.
5. How to be Saved (study guide) (English, Spanish, Portuguese)
A lesson on what it means to believe, to trust, and to experience Holy Spirit conviction, as well as how not to rely on works but instead to depend 100% with full confidence in the promise of Jesus Christ.
6. Born again Experience (study guide) (English, Spanish, Portuguese)
Eternal life is eternal security, and this lesson shows why this is so, as well as what every Christian should do once saved in order to fulfill God’s plan for his or her life.
What topics are best to teach a new Christian? These lessons present the principles most essential for spiritual growth, needed by both the beginner and the mature.
1. Facts for New Christians (English, Japanese)
Thirteen vital spiritual growth principles are simply and briefly stated. A great little booklet to help a new Christian begin growing in the faith with direction, goals, and tools to start right and stay right.
2. Follow-up Lessons for Spiritual Growth (study guide) (English, Spanish)
Christians, especially new ones, need to establish fundamental habits and disciplines essential for spiritual growth. The study orients disciples properly in the first two commands, shows how to find and fulfill God’s plan for their lives, and explains the vital importance of the three unfailing resources God has given us for growth and how to use them.
1. MBBC Church Member Orientation Book (English, Spanish)
This booklet helps new MBBC members become productive, fulfilled Christians. It is also a great example for other churches looking for ways to help their church members bond in fellowship, participate in ministry, shoulder responsibilities, and exercise their gifts and talents.
2. The Local, Visible Nature of the Church (English)
Today’s confusion about what the church is has weakened believers and local churches. This book gives a brief history of how the doctrine of the church corrupted, and then it categorizes and explains every Bible verse that describes the church to give students insight into the difference between the family of God and the church of God.
3. Understanding the New Testament Church (English, Spanish)
Insight is gained through this study that compares the Old Testament house of witness (Israel) with the New Testament house of witness (church). The ordinances are explained, and readers learn how God uses the church to build up Christians and preserve truth on earth.
4. Finding the Right Church (English, Spanish)
“Which church is the right church for me?” is a frequent question. This study examines the doctrines and historical principles necessary to finding the right church.
5. MBBC Discipleship (English, Spanish)
Grasping and fulfilling a vision requires an understanding of the what, why, who, and how of the vision. MBBC’s discipleship ministry explains its mission and goals for each member.
Discipleship is all about advancing disciples forward in their maturity, doctrine, character, and ministry skills. With a foundation built consisting of salvation, assurance, dealing with sin and temptation, applying the disciplines to utilize the 3 resources, and bonding in church ministry; a disciple is ready to begin the process of being weaned from the daily dose of spoon fed training. The following lessons advance disciples forward in their doctrine, character, and skills so that they can begin the process of making disciples too.
1. Bible Concepts (study Guide) (English, Spanish)
Here is a wonderful, tried and true, systematic concept study of vital Biblical principles and doctrines. These lessons take students beyond what to believe. Its systematic approach shows students, simply and easily, why doctrines are true, why certain answers must be true, and why reading the Bible with understanding is possible. The insights students gain in this study series make it the best for laying a foundation of doctrinal understanding and Bible study.
2. Multiply! Your Life for Christ (English)
Dr. Briney’s book is designed to demonstrate how discipleship is a process intended to repeat itself over and over again. With its emphasis on goal-oriented discipleship, students are equipped with a vision, a plan, and tools to multiply disciples. It is a great instruction book for every disciple and disciple maker desiring to develop ministry skills.
3. Pursuit of Spiritual Growth (English, Spanish)
Personal goals and disciplines are essential for spiritual growth and maturity. These lessons help disciples build the skills to be effective Bible students, prayer warriors, soul winners, and disciple makers. This study served as the basis for the Multiply! Your Life for Christ book.
4. Knowing God’s Will (English, Spanish)
Is there a question more frequently asked than “What is God’s will for my life?” This booklet spells it out for those asking the question and shows just how easy it is to discover God’s will.
5. Bible Study Method (English, Spanish)
Second Timothy 2:15 exhorts us to be students of God’s Word. This lesson guides students into fruitful Bible learning with study skill advice and recommended study resources.
1. Family Concepts (study guide) (English, Spanish)
Marriages and families built on Biblical principles thrive in church and society and fulfill God’s plan. This excellent series of lessons is a great tool for sharing the Gospel and Biblical truths in the context of the family, pre-marriage, and marriage counseling. Topics include God’s plan for the family, roles, finances, parenting, and family discipleship.
2. Revival and the Pastor’s Dream Congregation (English, Spanish)
Revival is possible in every heart. This booklet describes the who, what, when, where, why, and how of revival. But most importantly, it explains why understanding the nature of revival helps pastors and church leaders train their congregation.
3. The Tabernacle Testimony of Jesus Christ (English, Spanish)
Discover how the tabernacle of the Old Testament clearly portrays the trinity and the Gospel of salvation. This booklet describes the witness of Christ from the inside to the outside of the tabernacle through its utensils, ceremonies, construction, courtyard, and the tribal camps, as well as from the outside to the inside.
4. House of Destiny (English, Spanish)
Here is a description of an effective outreach ministry that reaches hundreds of people with the gospel message in just a couple of nights.
5. Premarriage Preparation Questions (English)
Asking the right questions before marriage can spare you much grief and identify trouble spots that need to be taken care of before you marry. God’s Word guarantees success and happiness if you obey God.