Across Missouri I have had a consistent message: Help new believers go down on one knee to pray to receive Christ as Savior and immediately go down on the other knee to pray for who they should go together to share their faith. We have around 10,000 to 11,000 baptisms every year. Are we intentional about making these new believers make disciples of others that they know?
“It’s the responsibility of every church to make disciples. I also believe that the Word tells us that it is the job of every pastor to develop a system that will equip and enable all of the people in the church to be in the relational process for discipleship.”
– Jim Putman, pastor, Real Life Ministries, Post Falls, Idaho (Real Life Discipleship, 35)
As Jesus said, it is impossible that new wine can go into old wineskins without bursting them asunder (Matt. 9:17, Mark 2:22, Luke 5:37). Starting with new believers who can become small group leaders is important. However, if Missouri Baptist pastors become hungry enough to ask for help, then orality is the way to go as the new standard for disciple-making efforts. Will these pastors ask, “What is it going to take to reach my community, my state, all people everywhere to faith in Christ?”
When Jesus sent out His twelve disciples, He did not say, “Now go find another disciple-maker to follow.” He sent them together, usually in groups of two, working together in accountable relationships. They were mature, not perfect. It is the same for us – Real Life Discipleship, 148.
The good news is that the DNA of how Jesus taught, made disciples, and empowered them for disciple-making in the first century can be caught today. A growing band of those who are literate have taken on the responsibility for studying and passing this methodology along to oral preference learners. Today, more than 600 churches, para-church organizations, and denominational groups are members of the International Orality Network (www.oralbible.org).
TruthSticks Training is catching on across Missouri. And one outcome is MOON – The MissOuri Orality Network. It’s a peer-to-peer network of disciple-makers who are learning to use Bible Storying in relational small groups that multiply.
Do you view each new believer as the next Apostle Paul? In Acts 16, Paul and Silas started out on a mission trip and gathered Timothy and Luke along the way. This is what we mean by the phrase coined by Curtis Sergeant, “The resources are in the harvest.” We find the people along the way that need to be disciple-makers.
Those new believers may be children, their parents, or adults who have their friends, family or co-workers. Each person has a circle of influence. And new believers know best how to interact with each circle. Trust them to become pathfinders into God’s Harvest Field! And train those who are sharing their faith to view each person as a wealth of resources to be “mined” for the sake of the gospel. (Mark Snowden serves Missouri Baptists as Evangelism/Discipleship Strategist (573) 556-0319 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)