As Paul and Silas established the church at Thessalonica, they not only imparted the truths of the gospel with the people there, but they invested their lives in those individuals to help them grow to maturity in Christ.
In 1 Thessalonians 2:8, Paul writes, “So, affectionately longing for you, we were well pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God, but also our own lives, because you had become dear to us.”
Paul and Silas’ ancient example provides a modern model for believers in the disciple-making process. And 1 Thessalonians 2:8 is the theme verse for the 2016 Disciple-making Conference, which is titled “Reveal” and scheduled for Feb. 29 at Lawndale Baptist Church in Greensboro.
IMB photo by Will Stuart
“Revealing the gospel involves not just a verbal witness, though that’s essential, but it also involves the sharing of your life,” said Brian Upshaw, who leads the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina’s Disciple-making Team. “Disciple-making involves both things.”
This year’s conference includes an exciting lineup of speakers who will address both the practical and spiritual aspects of disciple-making.
“Often times we focus on the process of disciple-making so much that we can sometimes forget that it’s the Spirit of God that moves us for evangelism and discipleship,” Upshaw said.
Chuck Lawless, professor of evangelism and missions at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, will open the conference by addressing spiritual warfare and disciple-making.
“Sometimes we overlook the fact that we have an enemy who doesn’t want us to make disciples,” Upshaw said. “When we engage in evangelism and disciple-making, we are engaging in spiritual warfare.”
Dhati Lewis, a church planter and pastor of Blueprint Church in Atlanta, will share on disciple-making in an urban context. Bruce Frank, lead pastor of Biltmore Baptist Church in Asheville, will address disciple-making in North Carolina. Frank’s wife, Lori, will also lead sessions for women.
“All of our speakers are passionate about making disciples and leading churches to do the same,” Upshaw said. “They will be sharing their heartbeat and passion for disciple-making, as well as share what this looks like in their daily lives.”
Jerry McCorkle, executive director of Spread Truth Ministries, will also share about an exciting new partnership between Spread Truth and North Carolina churches. The partnership involves training, equipping and encouraging churches and their members to share their faith using Spread Truth’s new mobile app that is related to “The Story” evangelism tool. Learn more about “The Story” and download the free mobile app for iPhone and Android devices at viewthestory.com.
In addition to the speakers for the large-group sessions, attendees may also choose from a number of breakout sessions that will focus on specific and practical aspects of disciple-making. Topics to be covered include: prayer, evangelism, small groups, missions, church planting, leading an evangelistic Bible study and more.
Throughout the event, Upshaw said he hopes attendees will see opportunities for making disciples flow from the relationships they have with others.
“We hope the conference helps people understand their identity in Christ as a disciple,” Upshaw said. “We also want to help them understand that it’s through the relationships we have with others that we are best able to share the gospel.
“So we want our lives to reveal the grace and truth of Jesus Christ, and speak the gospel into everyday situations.”
The conference is free to attend, but advance registration is required. Lunch is available for $7. Visit disciplenc.org.