Friday, March 05, 2010

If we are not discipling others, we fail to grow

T oday I had another Bible study with--I'll call him Paul Smith. Paul was baptized into Christ 4-5 months ago. Paul had been angry with God for years because he and his wife had suffered two miscarriages and had not been able to have children. Paul came to us because he and his wife at the time were headed towards divorce. This divorce is now finalized, despite his wishes.

Paul was helped in his faith walk initially by the Celebrate Recovery group. Then we studied the Story of Redemption together with a friend that he had developed in Celebrate Recovery. He accepted Christ and was baptized.

I have continued to meet with Paul almost every week since his baptism. He comes each week with questions--lots of questions. He has questions about how to deal with his wife, his boss, his neighbor. He has had many questions from the numerous sermons that he listens to and the book that he is reading now, The Purpose-Driven Life. He continues to wrestle with God.

Paul came to our study today with a question about when life begins, and when a body has a soul. Is it at birth? Is it sometime in the womb? Is it at conception? When is the age of accountability? Did I believe in this concept. And would children be in heaven? Would they be resurrected as an adult or as a child?

It took me a few minutes into the discussion before I realized that these were not just intellectual questions for Paul . He wanted to know these answers because his wife had had two miscarriages. He always wanted to be a father, and he would often curse God whenever he saw a school bus go by.

As I sought to listen and answer these questions, I had to deal with issues like God's knowledge of the future, God's active involvement in the world, God's love and his discipline, the nature of the Psalms, the resurrection, love for our enemies, forgiveness and more.

And as I went through these topics with Paul, I could feel that my own faith was affirmed. And it struck me. If we are not discipling other Christians, we ourselves fail to grow. These truths which I have studied for years gained new life as I thought about them in light of Paul's very real situation.

This is how God intended the church to be. A church that does not evangelize does not have new Christians. And without this influx of "new blood," we fail to grow spiritually. So evangelism is essential not only in reaching new Christians, but in Spiritually forming longtime Christians.

Who are you helping to disciple? How much do you think that discipling others help us to grow spiritually?


Anonymous said...

Good thought James. You are right. How do we get more people involved in the process. Have you read, "Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up? Really challenges my thinking of a disciple by comparing to early christians.

Joe Palmer

James Nored said...

Joe, I have found that personal invitation is what always works best in gettng people involved in the process. Jesus did not send out an email when calling his disciples. His call was very personal. He went from place to place when making is call.

I have not read Will the Real Heretics Please Stand Up. Have you been to my website, Missional Outrech Network? I would love for you to post a review there.

Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Yes I look at it from time to time. Reviewing your evangelism material, interested in your material on how to help people find their ministry/talent.

I have been looking for a good way for people to evaluate their own talents, and focus their ministry in an area that fulfills them so that they do more. I love my work so I do more of it, and don't feel like it is work. if people loved their ministry it would lead them to do more of it.

Lantz said...

Great thoughts and questions from both of you.

It seems that many are ok with it just being "us" inside our church walls.

Thanks for the encouragement!