Are Church Plants Really Making Disciples?

Posted: March 11, 2015 in Discipleship, Equipping the Saints, Making Disciples

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It has been stated by church planting experts that church plants win more lost people to Jesus and see more baptisms. But are they making disciples that last? That is the question. You can’t make disciples without having an intentional discipleship training process?

Sunday morning and Sunday night have proven are a great avenue for pastoral and evangelistic preaching, it is never enough for making disciples that last, it is a good point of entry. Acts 2:42-47 is the biblical model for God’s plan for making disciples that last. His plan includes daily small groups meeting for making lasting disciples. They met daily and studied. Because they needed to, these new believers in Jesus Christ needed to learn and gain a deeper understanding of what it meant to be a Christ follower. They needed to learn about the Scriptures and how to apply biblical principles to their life.

So the question we must ask is,  are our church plants making disciples that last. Just because you fill up a building on Sundays, or any other night of the week does not mean you are completing the disciple making process. Evangelism is the beginning of the disciple making process. Ongoing bible study, whether daily or weekly, from the Scriptures and application in both word and through action is the biblical model.

Research with one church network has revealed that church plants it is assisting, many do not offer any Bible study groups, which could mean that in 5, 10, 15, or 20 years that church plants that where having great success, are following in the footsteps of many of the declining churches. They have large numbers in worship, but none or just a few in any type of Bible Study groups. They face an imminent great decline, and death faces them in the future unless they are able to begin making disciples.

Will the going and blowing church plants of today become the declining and dying churches of tomorrow. So what is the solution? Refer back to the book of Acts. In chapter two the apostles grouped the 3,000 plus believers into small group Bible studies. They met daily, why? Reading between the lines and personal experience will answer this question in two ways.

First, the new believers had a hunger for God’s Word. They most likely could not get enough of studying and hearing God’s Word. Second, the apostles were putting into practice what they themselves had experienced life with Jesus Christ. As their rabbi, He most likely spent part of each day teaching them about God’s Word and explaining His new proclaimed truths (Matthew 13:11-52; Mark 4:1-34; Luke 8:11-15). Jesus was intentional in making disciples.

So, if you fail to be intentional to make disciples by developing weekly Bible study groups, small groups, or home groups to study God’s Word, then you fail to make disciples. Then we must ask ourselves, are we really making disciples in the New Testament model?

We must closely examine new churches and fix the deficiencies. We must make lasting disciples by intentionally creating weekly groups that study outside of the sermon time.

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