Discipleship trainer creates awareness

Discipleship trainer creates awareness

By Allen Palmeri
Associate Editor

JEFFERSON CITY Roy Edgemon, who co-wrote the book “Transformational Discipleship,” came to Missouri to hold a series of four Intentional Discipleship seminars March 27-30 that could lead to a greater awareness among Missouri Baptists about the need for life change.

“This is just about getting it out there initially,” said Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC) Discipleship Specialist Mike Cooper. “We’ve got a lot of churches where discipleship is not on their radar screen yet, and we’re just trying to get them to begin to think about it.”

Seminars were held in St. Louis, Jefferson City, Springfield and Lee’s Summit. Settings ranged from associational headquarters for St. Louis and Kansas City to the Baptist Building to a church (Ridgecrest Baptist in Springfield). The sessions were free and interactive, lasting about two hours.

Edgemon, 73, has been in ministry 56 years. He is well known for his service with the Home Mission Board and Foreign Mission Board, having served as a missionary in Okinawa and pastor of Tokyo Baptist Church. For 22 years he led the Southern Baptist discipleship training program, retiring in 2001 as director of the discipleship and family group of LifeWay Christian Resources. He now serves Southern Baptists as a consultant, teacher, transitional pastor, and trainer while maintaining his church membership at First Baptist, Sulphur Springs, Texas.

On March 28 at the Baptist Building, he challenged the group of about 25 people to understand more fully what the term discipleship really means.

“It’s not a program,” he said. “It is a commission of Jesus. He said, ‘Go and make disciples.’”

Edgemon, who presented several Bible passages about discipleship during his Missouri seminars, said we are in the middle of a discipleship crisis right now in America.

“You’ve got to talk about it and preach it, and you’ve got to say, ‘We cannot dare let these new Christians come into our church and not give them their birthright,’” he said. “Who do the Mormons get more of than any other group in America today? Southern Baptists. And the reason is, we put names on our rolls and never give them their birthright—never teach them who they are and what God calls them to be, and how special they are in the kingdom of God, and teach them all the blessings that God has for them.”

Seminar participants were able to look over some new LifeWay material that lays out 16 steps for developing a discipleship strategy.