I have always felt that discipleship is one of the most important jobs in churches today.  So many people walk into the church with baggage…maybe it is a blended family situation, or a rebellious child, or maybe he or she grew up in a  family without Christ present in the home..  Thom Rainer, President of LifeWay wrote about this lately.  I would like to use some of the principles he shared and maybe merge a few of my ideas with his ideas.  He says first, that pastors should develop leaders from the pulpit.  I agree.  Pastors have a role to play here.  The challenge to become a disciple of Christ and what that means needs to be preached over and over again.  We all learn by repetition.  Second, he says, make theological training a priority.  Every venue in church life is a place for people to learn what one should believe and why.  As we say around here, doctrine is not the only thing; doctrine is everything.  Third, spend time with those being trained.  This is an important principle across the board in church life.  Younger believers need to spend time with more mature believers in informal settings…seeing their strengths as well as their weaknesses.  Fourth, give younger believers a learning path.  Guiding the spiritual growth of young believers is the essence of discipleship. Connect them with discipleship studies and give them books, CDs, and videos that will bless them.  Give them chances to get their feet wet.  Ditto.  Maybe it is just being a silent prayer partner on a soul-winning visit.  Or maybe it is helping set-up tables and chairs for an church event.  Keep them busy doing things for God.  And finally, understand the challenge.  Helping someone decipher God’s call on his/her life is never easy.  There will be bumps along the way.  Don’t give up on that new believer just because he drops the ball along the way.  Discipleship is a process.

(Thom Rainer, Facts and Trends, Fall 2015, p.6)

Visit Mt. Airy Baptist Church on Sundays at 8:30am or 11am, or online at

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