After the joy of the harvest, we must not relax our disciple-making efforts. Jesus called us to make disciples, not members. To do so requires that we PRESERVE the harvest through intentional and systematic discipleship after baptism. In order for the disciple-making process to be a disciple-making cycle, we must nurture new church members and train them to engage in making other disciples. The consumer must become a producer. The receiver must become a giver. The one caught by the gospel net must become a fisher of men:
“Then Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.’” (Mark 1:17).
Local Church Goal – Systematic Discipleship Ministry
To ensure that the harvest is preserved, local churches need a Systematic Discipleship Ministry. Systematic means more than assigning spiritual guardians and hoping for the best. It means implementing an intentional plan to disciple EVERY NEW MEMBER after baptism.
Here are 7 Keys to a Systematic Discipleship Ministry*:
- APPOINT a discipleship ministry leader (PM leader or other).
- RECRUIT experienced and responsible members to serve as mentors to newer members—regular meetings can happen in personal or small group settings.
- FOLLOW a systematic plan to aid new members in establishing vital spiritual habits (daily prayer and Bible study, consistent attendance, regular witnessing, etc.).
- PROVIDE ongoing instruction in areas such as the devotional life, church life, Christian lifestyle, and evangelism.
- INTEGRATE new members into the life and ministries of the church while training the rest of the membership to befriend and pray for each newly baptized member.
- PROVIDE leadership support—promotion, financial support, and participation.
- PRAY for laborers and for spiritual growth through the new member discipleship ministry.
* The Discipleship Handbook is a comprehensive yet simple-to-use resource for local churches that incorporates all of the 7 keys to a systematic discipleship ministry. For more information, click here.
“A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher” (Luke 6:40).
“After individuals have been converted to the truth, they need to be looked after. . . . These newly converted ones need nursing—watchful attention, help, and encouragement. These should not be left alone, a prey to Satan’s most powerful temptations; they need to be educated in regard to their duties, to be kindly dealt with, to be led along, and to be visited and prayed with” (Evangelism, p. 351).
“When souls are converted, set them to work at once. And as they labor according to their ability, they will grow stronger” (Evangelism, p. 355).
“Let all be taught how to work. Especially should those who are newly come to the faith be educated to become laborers together with God” (Christian Service, p. 69).
“It is evident that all the sermons that have been preached have not developed a large class of self-denying workers. This subject is to be considered as involving the most serious results. Our future for eternity is at stake. The churches are withering up because they have failed to use their talents in diffusing light.” (Christian Service, p. 58).
“One soul, won to the truth, will be instrumental in winning others, and there will be an ever-increasing result of blessing and salvation” (Christian Service, p. 121).
Preserving New Members with Discipleship, Part 1
When someone commits to Christ and joins the church, what more is there to do?
Preserving New Members with Discipleship, Part 2
How can local churches better serve new members?