Being and Making Hopeful, Joyful Disciples of Jesus
Matthew Perry, D.Min., Th.M, Lead Pastor
Arapahoe Road Baptist Church, Centennial, CO
To the church I love, the church God has placed me in since 2011.
Copyright © 2020, #BeMakeXSend Press.
A Division of Arapahoe Road Baptist Church
780 E. Arapahoe Road
Centennial, CO 80122
Key Passage: Colossians 4:2-6
Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear , which is how I ought to speak.
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
Embrace the Mission
The purpose of the study is to embrace and execute God’s mission for His church in bringing about the mission of being and making hopeful, joyful disciples of Jesus.
The Mission of ARBC
The mission of ARBC is this: Helping all of Denver and the nations believe Jesus is enough. We do this by being and making hopeful, joyful disciples of Jesus. This mission is a rewording of what should be the mission of every other church: the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.
- “Jesus is enough!” Love God with all your heart soul mind and strength.
- “All of Denver and the nations”: Love your neighbor as yourself.
- “Being and making hopeful, joyful disciples of Jesus”: Go and make disciples.
What is the ‘church’ and what makes it faithful?
The New Testament describes three pictures of the church:
- The body of Christ, with each believer as a member of that body (1 Corinthians 12).
- The building/temple of Christ, with each member serving as a ‘brick’ that’s lined up with Jesus as the cornerstone. Each member serves as His priesthood (1 Peter 2:4-10; cf. Exodus 19:5-6).
- The bride of Christ, with Christ as the bridegroom and the church as His bride (Ephesians 5:25-33). The family dynamic is a portrait of Christ and His church.
The word ‘church’ in the Greek is translated from the word ‘ ekklesia ,’ which means ‘called out ones,’ that is, called out from the kingdom of this world. Christ is present in the church by the Spirit who seals and indwells each believer (Ephesians 1:13-14); and also by His Word and the ordinances in which He has commanded us to preach and observe (Acts 20:24-28; 1 Corinthians 11:17-34; 2 Timothy 4:1-5).
A church is marked by unity in Christ with no partiality due to background or race (Ephesians 2:11-22; Ephesians 4:13-14), harmony in coming together with the different gifts (Romans 12:3-8), and is ready to, as mentioned previously, to fulfill the Great Commandment and Great Commission (Matthew 22:34-40; Matthew 28:18-20).
Faithful, healthy churches make disciples. Our goal is not simply to make converts, then leave them on their own. We must engage with those who do not yet know Christ, but we must also engage with those who know Jesus in helping to strengthen them in their walk.
People aren’t here to help ARBC keep going…
ARBC is here to help people keep growing!
We are not just about going to church (that’s a building)!
We are not about having church (that’s an event)!
We are about being the church (that’s the body of Christ Monday through
What do we mean when we say, “Jesus is enough?”
We mean that Jesus is sufficient for (1) our salvation, (2) is the treasure of all wisdom and knowledge, and (3) Lordship of His church–for starters. It is not a denial of the necessity of the other two members of the Trinity. When it comes to our salvation , the Father authors our salvation from the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:3-4), the Son accomplished our salvation (Ephesians 1:7-10), and the Spirit applies our salvation (Ephesians 1:11-13). The Father shows the Son to the world (John 3:16). The Spirit shows the Son to our hearts (Galatians 4:4-7). Colossians 2:3 tells us that Christ is “the treasure of all wisdom and knowledge.”
What is a disciple?
R.C. Sproul defines a disciple as, “one who directs his mind toward specific knowledge and conduct. So, we might say that a disciple is a learner or pupil.” He is one who is sitting at the feet of the Master in learning what to believe (from Scripture) and then acting on what they read from Scripture. The disciples spent forty days with Jesus. “He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs . . . speaking about the kingdom of God” (Acts 1:3). What Jesus showed them and taught them, they would be His witnesses from “Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Disciples, then, sit at the feet of Jesus, follow His teaching and His life, then bear witness to that in every strata of society. Yet, they will not do this on their own, but they will “receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon them,” which happens to every believer when they receive Christ.
Why “Hopeful and Joyful?”
Hopeful and joyful came about from a rather difficult conversation I had with someone. I remember them sitting in my office back in September of 2014. I had never seen this person happy to be at our church. In fact, most of the words that came out of his mouth were discouraging. It was one of the few times in ministry that I had a heart-to-heart with someone to ask him what he really wanted to do, because it sure didn’t seem like he wanted to be here. During the conversation, the words ‘hope and joy’ came up. And since I’ve learned that crisis often brings clarity, I knew that’s what God was calling us to be as leaders, and as disciples of Jesus—and that we need to make these disciples as well.
Why ‘Hopeful?’ The use of the word ‘hopeful’ deals with how the hope we have in the sovereignty of God over all things, along with the hope we have in the gospel to save now, and the hope we have of eternal life. All through the New Testament, all the writers warned us about the grip of our finances that could be idolized in giving us our ultimate hope in this life. The apostle Paul wrote to the Roman church:
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (Romans 5:1-5).
We remind our people (or introduce to those who are new to this concept) that God brings the hope of the gospel so that, in hope, we use our resources to accelerate that hope in the hearts of others. If all we tell people is to give so we can pay our bills and keep the lights on, few will rally around that mindset. If we share that the resources with which God has blessed us will be used for Kingdom purposes to provide resources necessary to make disciples in obedience to the Great Commission, this (1) obeys Christ’s commission to His church, and (2) serves as a more hopeful vision around which our church family may rally.
Why “Joyful?” Christ instills a joy in His disciples for their salvation and sanctification—not to mention the heaven that awaits. Our joy (as well as our hope) is found in the phrase “Jesus is enough!” Paul tells us that “God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). Later in that chapter, Paul say, “You will be enriched in every way to be generous in every way, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God” (9:11). Our joy in the sufficiency of Christ reaches down to all aspects of our lives, especially our resources.
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:8-9).
Dealing with Cultural Reality
Someone once said, “Leadership is identifying reality.” What’s the reality of the spiritual condition of our nation, of our city, and of our churches? We are called to pray for our country and our city (1 Peter 2:13-17) but we must remember, “Judgment begins at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). God is expecting our churches to be a ‘player’ in our city and nation.
It’s time for us to realize the spiritual demographics of the United States. The past 10 years has changed the climate of our country significantly:
- Of the 316 million residents in the US, evangelicals account for anywhere from 22-28 million (around 7 to 8.9 percent of the population), about the population of New York State.
- Evangelical churches lost 2.6 million over the decade, an unsustainable loss if it keeps going.
- “American is undergoing significant changes, and the nature of those changes is both complex and chaotic. The historical foundations on which our society was developed are facing some severe challenges. It’s not easy to be the kind of Christian that Jesus longs to have as His ambassadors in this place, at this time” (George Barna, Futurecast ).
- Our culture is increasingly anti-Christian or apathetic toward Christianity. There is a hostility toward Christianity than many in church world underestimate, especially when it comes to gay marriage.
- Among university professors who have negative feelings about various beliefs:
- 3% against Jews
- 9% against non-evangelical Christians
- 22% against Muslims
- 53% against evangelical Christians
God has called us to move missionally under the Great Commandment (Matthew 22:34-40) and the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20).
Denver is the 15th largest city in the United States. The Public Religion Research Institute has said that Denver is the 4th least religious city in the nation behind Portland, San Francisco, and Seattle. 29% of residents in Denver are not affiliated with any religion at all. Plus, according to NAMB, 94% of residents in Denver do not go to an evangelical church.
There is only one Southern Baptist church for every 20,135 people in the Denver metro area. Denver not only has 3.2 million in the metro area, but approximately 170 different languages are spoken, making this a very internationally-represented city. The 80122 zip code has a population of 32,419.
Around 70-75% of our churches are either plateaued or declining. Why? How does this happen?
- Many churches enjoy the processes of decision making over connecting with people. When it comes to members meetings, committees, teams, and by-laws, many churches find their security and identity in how things are accomplished rather than looking at why they have these processes and what they seem to accomplish. If the process is embraced for the process’ sake, even to the detriment of reaching, strengthening, and growing our people, then churches must choose which needs to change
- Many churches are more of a “holy haven” from the world rather than equipping others to engage the world. Jesus did not die and be raised again in order for the church to find their rest in, well, ‘church,’ but to find their rest in Jesus. The energy expended is on preservation based on PATs (preferences, agendas, and traditions) rather than spending energy seeking God in making the mission of being and making hopeful, joyful disciples. No wonder 90% of churches are either plateaued or declining.
- Many churches mistake a busyness of church world and work with discipleship. Many churches meet a lot. This gives a sense of satisfaction that something is ‘getting done.’ Yet, the main task that Jesus commanded us in the Great Commandment and Great Commission, as stated in our mission, is ignored or explained away. While these structural and tactical matters serve an important role in the church, this must not numb us to the notion of what is needed. Healthy churches make disciples. Not just pay the staff, keep the lights on, and make sure the doors are open for Sunday morning.
- Pareto Principle in play: 20% of the people doing 80% of the work. Many times, churches simply have the same small core of people serving, but just move them around each of the teams for years and years. As a result, new members (and especially younger members) have trouble breaking through to have a part in serving and helping contribute to set a direction for the church they’ve joined and love.
Reflections on Colossians 4:2-6
C.S. Lewis wrote a book called the Screwtape Letters, in which a demon named Screwtape was apprenticing his nephew, Wormwood, about how best to derail Christians from their main purpose. One choice piece of wisdom was, “Indeed the safest road to Hell is the gradual one–the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts,…Your affectionate uncle, Screwtape.”
Satan will do whatever he can in our lives and our churches to distract us from the laser focus we must have in making disciples. Apathy sets in, until an intentionality arises to reach those who are far from God and to equip believers in the Word. Be aware of his schemes.
- Do we remain constant in prayer? Why are times of prayer our least attended times together?
- Do we pray for open doors for the gospel? Why are outreaches our second least attended?
- Are we more alert to changes that may disrupt our comfort than we are alert to the brokenness around us?
- When we come together, do we do so to be strengthened to understand the Scriptures in order to encourage others? Are we ready to answer others?
Thom Rainer and Eric Geiger touch on a disturbing trend when it comes to churches and how inquirers inspect them:
It seems that the commitment to buy contact lenses is greater than the commitment to join many churches. Most churches only require new members to fill out a card or a triplicate form. It happens so fast. Expectations are minimal. Signing up for a department store credit care takes more time.
According to Scripture and according to our By-Laws, membership matters. Members are believers who have made a covenant with an established group of believers (in our case, Arapahoe Road Baptist Church). From those members are worshipers, leaders, missionaries, and all-around servants of Jesus Christ.
When examining membership from the Scriptures, we see an accountability to their leaders, to each other, and to the community/city in which they live. According to the Great Commission, believers are living under the authority of Jesus who is the one who built His church. And the church is to “go, and make disciples” (see Matthew 28:18-20).
When examining our By-Laws, we see the area addressed immediately is that of membership (Articles 1, Sections 3-8). By outlining the issue of membership so extensively (from what membership is, expectations of members, categories of membership, and termination of membership), ARBC’s leaders and members must take seriously the by-laws to which they have voted to adhere.
But as we see noted in various parts, membership is not only accountability to God and each other, but to also a testimony to a watching world. Allowing false teaching or false living to go unchecked is a sin before God and speaks volumes about our commitment to Christ (or lack thereof).
Scripture takes membership seriously; our by-laws take membership seriously; the watching world takes our membership seriously—by the Spirit we should take membership seriously.
BIBLICALLY: MEMBERSHIP IS IN THE BIBLE
- Paul wrote to churches as places in which Christians made a covenant with other Christians in a specific locale.
- Each of these churches had specific pastors and deacons (Hebrews 13:7, 17; Acts 11:30, 14:23, 16:4).
- We will attend to hear the preaching of the Word and fellowship with each other.
- As a result, there is an accountability to the Word and, yes, a discipline (Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:9-13; Titus 3:7-9; cf. Acts 5:1-11, 1 Timothy 1:18-20).
- We are invested and engaged to strengthen the saved (Hebrews 10:23-25; John 13:34-35).
- We are sent as members of His church into His world to reach the lost (Acts 13).
- A way to care for each other as family, for we are connected to one another.
- Hear God’s Word together.
- Fellowshipping together brings fullness of joy (1 John 1:1-4).
- Help each other pursue Jesus (Hebrews 10:24-25).
- Help each other pray for and submit to spiritual leadership (Hebrews 13:7, 17). Strengthen each other in service to Jesus, not the world (Romans 12:1-2).
- Keeps out false teaching and false living (Matthew 18:15-17; Titus 3:7-9).
How One Becomes a Member of ARBC
- Professing your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and following Him in New Testament baptist. If you do not know how to become a Christian, we will gladly explain what you must do.
- Transferring your membership from another Baptist church. You may request membership through transfer of letter from your previous church. If you make this request, we will write for your letter of transfer for you.
- Requesting New Testament baptism: We believe baptism is to be by immersion. We do not believe baptism is essential for salvation, but that it is an act of Christian obedience symbolizing the believer’s experience of salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior and a commitment to living a life reflecting His teachings and leadership.
- Statement of faith: If you are a Christian who has experienced New Testament Baptism.
- Participate in our “101” class to see what the church is all about and where the church is going.
- Talk with the Lead Pastor about one’s conversation experience and to answer any further questions one may have.
- Be voted on by the ARBC membership.
Spheres of Influence: Our Missionary Mandate
We have grown so used to processes and programs inside the church walls on Sunday (or other appointed times) that we forget our missionary mandate is to invest in those who occupy our spheres of influence. What are they? They are FRANs. Elmer Towns says, “The most effective evangelism in the New Testament is among FRANs.”
Friends * Relatives * Associates/Co-Workers * Neighbors
In our sphere of influence, these are the ones closest to us, the ones with whom we ‘rub elbows’ the most. While sharing the gospel with strangers is also encouraged, the relationship piece of this aspect of our lives is key to bridging the gaps between them and the gospel.
|Write below one friend, one relative, one associate, and one neighbor that you know thatneeds to know Jesus as his/her Lord and Savior:|
DNA for Discipleship: A Five-Step Process
We must prayerfully develop a DNA for discipleship. This is a culture issue, not an event, a class, or a program. It’s an on-mission, ‘as you go’ lifestyle. As far as already-existing programs in the church, we have a flow in place built around five principles:
- Attend our worship gathering.
- Connect with community
- Join the Mission.
- Give generously
- Go as a missionary
Godwin Sathianathan notes:
“Make disciples” implies intentionality and process. Disciple-making doesn’t just happen because a church exists and people show up. It is a deliberate process. Considering the modifying participles of “going . . . baptizing . . . teaching” help us recognize this process. It must include evangelizing (going to new people and new places), establishing (baptizing new believers and teaching obedience), and equipping (teaching believers to also make disciples).
Evangelizing new people, establishing new believers, and equipping believers and leaders. Honestly, this must be our dedicated and dogged foundation—our meat and drink!
This falls into what we believe about being and making hopeful, joyful disciples of Jesus.
Attend Our 10:31 (a.k.a., our Worship Gathering)
The fundamental activity in our discipleship is to gather together with our brothers and sisters in corporate worship. In Hebrews 10:23-25, we read:
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
Based on our worship of Jesus and the confession of our hope as found in Jesus and His Word, we stir up one another but we cannot stir up one another if we are not together with each other. Thus, the Spirit commands us to meet together, but some neglect this most basic of discipling activities. As we gather together, we encourage one another, no matter where we are in our Christian walk, and we do so with urgency “as you see the Day drawing near.”
We cannot grow in our worship of Jesus and in our maturity in Jesus if we fail to gather together in corporate worship. What is included in our times of worship?
- The preaching of the Word: ARBC is committed to expositional preaching, where the meaning of the text becomes the meaning of the sermon. The points of the sermon are found in the text of Scripture.
- Singing: using all types of styles to reinforce what we believe but also to encourage those around us. We need both “Holy, holy, holy!” as an example of singing praises to God, as well as “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” as an example of singing to encourage and evangelize those around us.
- Giving: When Jesus said, “As you give….” (Matthew 6:2) and when Paul said, “God loves acheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7), this told us that part of our worship of Jesus is giving back a portion of what He gave to us. Why? As a tax write-off? As a way to show approval of how things are going? No, but to give to fund ministry so others can know Jesus!
- Praying: When Jesus said, “When you pray” (Matthew 6:5), it’s understood that prayer would be a part of our personal as well as our corporate life. We must beware not to “heap up empty phrases like the Gentiles do, for they think they will be heard for their manywords” (Matthew 6:7).
Connect in Community: Find a Small Group for Scripture and Fellowship
This piece is about relationships. We have found that if new members or attenders develop 3-5 solid relationships/friendships within the first six months, they will stay. The best way this happens is via small groups (either Sunday Morning Bible Studies or other groups connected with the church where these gospel-centered relationships are fostered).
This is where ‘Sunday School’ must not simply be an Bible information dump where we come, hear a lesson from a prepared teacher, then go to our worship service to sing and hear from the prepared pastor/preacher. Steps need taking to where, outside of the Sunday School hour, connections and investments are being made to help us navigate through our lives biblically as disciples of Jesus, not simply as good people trying to just be, well, good.
Join the Mission: Find a Ministry in Which to Serve
Each member should serve in some sort of ministry, whether it’s a team inside the church or a gospel-ministry of some fashion outside the church. It’s here where ‘serve’ and ‘go’ will overlap, but in this case, we pray that in some way, serving others within the church and being developed as leaders (ARBC Equip!–see below). Each current member and each new member coming in will receive a “Find Your Lane” form which will help us to see what their gifting, talents, and passions are in order to connect them to a ministry that would suit them. These will be given to the nominating team as well as other team leaders to recruit them to these areas. It’s a joy to serve Jesus, and it’s a joy to serve Jesus in your lane.
“The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7). As God has given to us, we give back to His Kingdom work. John Bunyan (1628-1688) once wrote, “A man there was, though some did count him mad, the more he cast away the more he had.” More importantly, Jesus said:
Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you (Matthew 6:2-4).
We give joyfully and generously to Kingdom work for the sake of the King, not to please or impress others. This is a part of discipleship. This is part of worship.
Go to Your Mission Field: Reach Your Sphere of Influence
Many churches have not lost that ‘lovin’ feelin’’, but many have lost their missionary zeal. When the zeal is fanned into flame, opportunities will arise and doors will open to share about Jesus. Should God open a door to share the gospel with one of our FRANs, we need to be ready to share the Good News. That’s what evangelism is, coming from the word meaning ‘good news.’ We tell others of what has already happened with Christ’s life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension and coming again. We tell others about our brokenness and how we have strayed from God’s design, but through Jesus we can pursue and restore God’s design as we repent of trying to find our answers and our identity elsewhere.
It’s here we as ARBC will look for various ways to connect with our community.
- Who’s Your One? You’ll see the cross on the stage with a number of papers pinned to that cross. These contain the names of those that our people wish to see come to Christ. Prayer and gospel conversations are important.
- Community events: what events happen in our area where we can connect? (5Ks, fairs, Western Welcome Week, Fall Festival, etc.).
- Community assets: connecting with police department, fire department, schools, and other organizations which already help others.
- Church plants: in what ways can we help other Kingdom partners bolster their presence in their communities?
A Way to Share Jesus
The 3 Circles is a great tool to share the gospel faithfully but concisely–that is, it passes the napkin test. With 3 Circles, every member can, should, and must be proficient in sharing the gospel via this 3 Circles Discussion Guide. We cannot miss this understanding of how to share the gospel.
- With whom? Our friends, relatives, associates, neighbors, students, and strangers. God has placed these people in our sphere of influence (SOI). This is our primary mission field.
- How? “Speaking the truth in love” (Ephesians 4:15). We must have an urgency to invest the gospel and our lives in our sphere of influence.
- When? When God opens a door, even just a crack (1 Peter 3:15).
You may say, “Pastor Matt, I do not know many unbelievers. My only friends are Christians.” Then find a Christian to keep you accountable among your FRANs to go over the gospel a time or two. Plus, when it comes to our ideas with helping fellow believers, the following is excellent.
With believers: One-to-One Bible Reading by David Helm
Jonathan Hayashi said, “Evangelism without disciples implies conversion is the touchdown. But it’s not. Conversion is the kickoff. It’s the beginning of the game.”
Strengthening disciples in our church begins with what Paul told Timothy: “ Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching” (1 Timothy 4:13). In 2 Timothy, Paul charges Timothy to “Preach the Word, in season and out of season” (2 Timothy 4:2). Why? Because some will come along with falsehood trying to “tickle itching ears” and lead them away from the truth. Our people need to know how to read and apply their Bibles.
DNA Groups: Developing a one-to-one mentoring to help our people read the Scriptures well and have accountability. The trial run will be through the revamped missions team.
Goal is to have our Sunday School classes develop these relationships among their classmates, but also among their FRANS with an ultimate goal of 70% of our average attendees involved in a DNA-type discipleship group.
Equip: Raising Up Mature Disciples and Leaders
Multiply to mobilize: Hopeful, joyful disciples multiply other hopeful, joyful disciples. As a result, some of these disciples are called into leadership roles to help mobilize other disciples into their roles.
According to Scripture, leaders are ones who preach and model the Word among God’s people in a local church (Hebrews 13:7). Even the call to obey these leaders only applies as they preach and teach the Word, not a blank check to do whatever they tell you in every regard.
Knowing God, knowing His Word, knowing people. So developing leaders is about understanding, first, the Word of God with an ability to communicate the Word both in speech and in living. The living is epitomized by the fruit of the Spirit: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, against which there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Local churches are the place where leaders are primarily developed for the church. Seminaries have their place, for sure. But the church is where what you learn at seminary can be implemented, but seminaries are not the place where you learn how to deal with day-to-day people that comprise the local church.
Thus, when we develop leaders, we develop leaders under five buckets that we see to fill:
- Character : Is the hopeful, joyful disciple one whose character is Christ-like both inside and outside the church? In 1 Timothy 3, pastors are to be above reproach. All are to have the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
- Conviction: A clear conviction of what Scripture teaches and what the mission is of ARBC.
- Competency: A continual learning and understanding of the particular calling to which God has placed you, and adding tools to the toolbox of your area of ministry.
- Connectedness: An intentional connecting of your area of ministry to other areas of ministry in the church, avoiding a silo mentality.
- Care: You care for those in the church, and especially under your area of ministry, and for those who are far from God. “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care” (John Maxwell).
Leadership at our church is a stewardship granted to us by God so that we might walk in worship but also that we may serve others in the name of Christ.
Multiplying Leaders… and Environments
- Hopeful, joyful disciples who become…
- Hopeful, joyful Leaders who lead…
- Hopeful, joyful gospel environments: classes, small groups, worship gatherings, churches
Send Disciples: From the 303 to the EOE
But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
- Sending members from our church to other churches and ministries
- Partnerships with other churches
- Partnership with other gospel organizations: Sugar City
North America (Samaria)
- We will see where God leads.
EOE (Ends of the Earth)
- Trinidad and Tobago
- London, England
Appendix 1: What Are Baptists?
What exactly are Baptists? This acronym will help you understand the basics:
“The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried. All Scripture is a testimony to Christ, who is Himself the focus of divine revelation” (BF&M 2000, Article I: Scriptures).
Autonomy of the local church
“Autonomy means that each Baptist church, among other things, selects its pastoral leadership, determines its worship form, decides financial matters and directs other church-related affairs without outside control or supervision. Baptist denominational organizations such as associations of churches and state and national conventions have no authority over a Baptist church” (Baptists Believe in Church Autonomy, http://www.baptistdistinctives.org/resources/articles/church-autonomy/).
Priesthood of believers:
A priest serves as a mediator in interceding between God and His people, and representing God to His people and the world. Christians may come to God on their own, with Christ as their mediator. We do this individually, but also corporately in connection with a body of believers. We need none other to approach God on our behalf besides Jesus. “There is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
Two ordinances: Baptism and the Lord’s Supper
Baptism (from the Greek baptizo) means to immerse upon one’s profession of faith and repentance in Jesus Christ (Mark 1:9-11; Acts 8:26-40; Romans 6:1-4).
Lord’s Supper contains the bread and juice which are symbols of the reality of the crucified Christ who broke His body and shed His blood for the forgiveness of sin (1 Corinthians 11:23-34).
Intentional in evangelism and missions
Baptists take the Great Commission seriously (Matthew 28:18-20). The new birth in the Spirit births a new love for others (John 3:1-8; 13:34-35). We seek to win the lost by verbal witness along with a Christian lifestyle, and other methods in harmony with the gospel of Christ. Our giving of our finances, time, and spiritual gifts is for the purpose of advancing the gospel from our community to the corners of creation, for His glory and our good (Colossians 3:23; 2 Corinthians 9:6-7).
Salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
In order to be a member of a Baptist church, you must be regenerate (a.k.a., born again) by grace alone through faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9) in Christ alone (John 14:6). We are called by the Spirit (Romans 8:26-30), justified from the penalty of sin (Romans 3:21-26), set apart from the power of sin (1 Thessalonians 4:3), glorified in heaven from the presence of sin (Revelation 21:1-4). There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ.
Two offices in the church: pastor and deacon (1 Timothy 3:1-13; Acts 6:1-4).
Pastors (also called in the New Testament elders, bishops, and overseers) oversee the spiritual needs of the church, primarily prayer and ministry of the Word (Acts 6:4, 1 Peter 5:1-5). Deacons oversee the physical needs of the church (Acts 6:1-7). The qualifications for each are found in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9. Each Baptist church is led by the Holy Spirit to select their own pastors and deacons (see Autonomy of the Church).