Discipleship, The Key to Christian Growth

Each week I have the privilege to sit down with a group of men in the chapel to discuss life and the gospel. During my time in settings like this, I’m reminded of the importance of discipleship. Though discipleship can take on many forms, however it always involves honesty, seeking advice, and Scripture, and someone willing to do all of the above. This time is essential in the growth of a Christian!

The Preacher in Ecclesiastes writes, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:9–10). The Preacher here is writing about the benefit of working together. Two are also better than one as we live out our faith in Christ. We really need each other, though we often try to go at it alone. We really need reproof and instruction, though we seldom seek it out. This is why discipleship is so important.

Discipleship builds humility. Our temptation might be to think we know what is best for ourselves. But Proverbs says that a wise man will hear and learn, and will acquire wise counsel (Proverbs 1:5). So we can safely assume that an unwise man will not hear from others, will shut them down and will not listen, will lack understanding and will not acquire wise counsel. We need to resist the temptation to be wise in our own eyes (Proverbs 3:7). We must humble ourselves!

Discipleship also unites us with fellow believers. The body of Christ isn’t meant to simply exist for us to gather together on Sundays and then move along with our lives the rest of the week. God’s word paints a picture of believers doing life together (Acts 2:44–47). Seeking counsel and discipleship is one way to invite others into your life. And also discipleship equips us for faithfulness. We become faithful when we make ourselves available. In I Corinthians 11:1, Paul tells the church of Corinth to follow his example as he follows the example of Christ. Paul was in the process of raising up leaders in the church and through this discipleship process he wanted them his example. If we want those who we are in discipleship groups with to follow our example then we better walk in faithfulness. And for those who are struggling in this area can learn and be equipped by those who are faithful.

Discipleship needs to happen among Christians! I would never trade the times I have and have had with these men. I have learned so much and I pray they have received from me as well.

Vision, Mission and Goal in Ministry

Several years ago God called me to full time ministry, working as a Chaplain inside of a Correctional facility in the State of Alabama. When entering into ministry I was unsure at what God had called me to, but was obedient and begun sharing the gospel to those around me, teaching biblical based classes and supporting Chapel functions. As I continued to serve God, He began showing me more specifically what He had called me to which led me recently to what I call my vision, mission and goal for ministry. My vision, mission and goal for ministry is to “Glorify God by discipling, equipping, and mobilizing the church to make disciples among the incarcerated.”

My vision “Glorifying God” is the lens in which I do the ministry God has called me too. In 1 Chronicles 16:28-29 it says, “Ascribe to the LORD, O families of nations, ascribe to the LORD glory and strength, ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name. Bring an offering and come before him; worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness.” We see here there are two actions on our part that make up the action of glorifying God. First, we “ascribe” or give glory to Him because it is His due. Second, we are to “bring an offering” to God as part of the worship that glorifies Him. The offering we bring to God as we come before Him is to agree on all that he says, be obedient to all that He tells us do and to submit to all His commands. This is the lens in which I do ministry. In everything that I do, is it in agreement with what God says and is it in obedience to all that He commands us to do. Ministry is not about me or what I am able to accomplish but all about glorifying God!

My mission is “discipling, equipping, and mobilizing the church to make disciples.” We have all been commanded to make disciples and that command is the same for those behind bars as to those who are in the free world. I feel called to not only evangelize the lost but walk beside those who are saved, discipling them, equipping them and encourage them to share what Christ has done for them to others. I do this through one on one mentoring, teaching classes on discipleship and leadership, helping men break through addictions and thinking barriers and equipping men with tools, so that they in turn will make disciples also. My mission is not to give up on these men but to see them set free on the inside, fall in love with God, and become more like Christ.

My goal is to see these men “make disciples among the incarcerated.” I believe this is why prison ministry is so important! We need incarcerated disciples making disciples! There are gangs and religions inside of prison that are reproducing men that walk contrary to God. We need blood bought disciples making disciples that walk in accord to Gods word. We need incarcerated men who are willing to put their lives on the line for the spread of the gospel throughout the prison camp! Men who are not complacent, but have compassion for those who are lost and will go to great lengths so that others would come to know Christ! We need men who love the Lord our God with all their heart, soul and mind and love their neighbor as themselves! Men whose love for God will compel them to share Him with others. Because The Great Commission” can only effectively flow out of the life of one practicing “The Great Commandment.”

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