One of the key ministries of the local church is to engage in making disciples – lifelong worshipers of the living God and followers of Jesus Christ – among all age groups and ethnic backgrounds. In all my years of education, reading a lot of books about discipleship and church ministry, and serving as a pastor, it hit me a couple of years ago that there are certain elements that should exist within a local congregation that would help with this process. So I present for your consideration the following pillars of disciplemaking ministries in the local church.
Pillar 1: Biblical Knowledge
- Importance of reading, studying, and memorizing scripture
- Bible content
- How to read & study the Bible
Pillar 2: Spiritual Formation & Deeper Life Education
- Emphasis on Word, Prayer, Worship
- Process of sanctification
- Spiritual growth as individuals and as the Church/local congregations
Pillar 3: Whole-Life Discipleship
- Following Jesus – from conversion to growth as a disciple to ministry in the church and in the community
- Integration of faith, work, and economics as recipients and stewards of the gospel of Jesus Christ and His kingdom
Pillar 4: Equipping for Ministry
- Spiritual gifts recognition (and relevant ministry training)
- Training for specific ministries
- Training opportunities outside of the church (seminars, workshops, conferences, courses at local colleges or seminaries, online courses, etc.)
- Basic theology, church history, local/regional/global outreach
- Mission education & mobilization
Pillar 5: Leadership Development
- Elders, deacons, Governing Board members, etc.
How and where can such things be implemented? Depending on the needs and context of the congregation, here are some suggestions: worship services, Sunday school, small groups and Bible study groups, training opportunities within church and outside of church, learning communities, book discussion groups, sharing of resources, mentoring and coaching relationships, and on-the-job training via direct ministry involvement.
May the Lord continue to sanctify each of us personally and corporately, and may He give us desire, wisdom, vision, and courage for making disciples in our churches!
For what it’s worth.