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On Sunday morning, January 27, Pastor James preached an inspiring message in both services from Ephesians 2:10. Our theme verse for the month of January was Ephesians 2:8-9. Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches us that we are saved by grace through faith and not by works. A person may ask then, what role do good works play in the Christian’s life? Ephesians 2:10 answers that question by telling us that we are created in Christ Jesus to be God’s special masterpieces to do good works that God has prepared beforehand for us to walk in. In his sermon, Pastor James shared with you our discipleship process.  

This process was worked out in the past few months by your lead ministerial staff. We started with the question:  What is a disciple? We answered that question this way: A disciple is a person, who under the direction of the Holy Spirit, is in the process of becoming like Christ.

Once we defined what a disciple is, we then thought through the process that our church uses to make disciples. This discipleship process has taken some time to develop. In January of 2016, the ministerial staff came up with a vision statement—We exist to glorify God by loving all people and making disciples of all nations. In May of 2017, I preached a sermon series on our ministry blueprint, which was based on the following words: connect, grow, and go.

As our ministers looked at our vision statement and our ministry blueprint, we felt both were somewhat lacking. The vision statement, though being 100% true to God’s Word, wasn’t very measurable. It was hard to know whether or not we as a church were actually doing a good job of loving all people or making disciples of all nations.

The ministry process of connect, grow, and go was a good three-step ministry process. However, it was difficult to capture what we believed was our whole discipleship process in just those three words.

We decided to use four words instead and chose to keep one of the words from the ministry blueprint. The four words that summarize our discipleship process are worship, connect, serve, and share. By turning our church logo into a diamond, we are able to communicate movement around the diamond. Think about how in baseball or softball the batter starts at home plate and runs around the bases in a counter-clockwise motion.

Our discipleship process begins with worship. We were created by God to worship Him and glorify Him forever. We gather together on Sunday mornings to worship. That is also the most likely place where new people enter into the life of our church. We grow as a disciple as we worship the Lord, but we especially grow when we begin to connect with others by building relationships through small group ministries like Sunday school classes, life groups, and Bible studies. We are also able to care for one another and have true Christian fellowship when we connect with others in small groups.

The ministry fair on January 27 was a wonderful visual expression of what it means to serve in ministry. It thrilled me to see the different ministries of First Baptist Church on the Square and people signing up to serve!  Pastor James really emphasized using our spiritual gifts to serve the Lord and His church in his sermon. The final part of the discipleship process is the word share. All Christians are commanded by God to share the gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples of all nations. Evangelism, missions, and discipleship are to be the lifeblood of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Our new vision statement then in light of our discipleship process is this: First Baptist Church on the Square exists to MAKE DISCIPLES by connecting people to GOD, OTHERS, MINISTRY, and the WORLD.

We connect people to God through worship. We connect people to others by encouraging them to connect regularly with a small group on Sunday mornings and/or on other days and times of the week. We connect people to ministry by providing them opportunities to serve. We connect people to the world around them by equipping and empowering believers to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.

This discipleship process is clear, and it is measurable. There is so much potential in using it to evaluate our overall church health and developing strategies to accomplish our mission. I thank God for your prayers and support. May we all embrace what it truly means for us as a church to make disciples by connecting people to God, others, ministry, and the world.

In Christ’s Love,

Pastor Cade