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Creating a disciple-making culture
Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer
November 18, 2013

Creating a disciple-making culture

Creating a disciple-making culture
Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer
November 18, 2013

If you attended the Annual Meeting a few weeks ago in Greensboro you are aware that our meeting included an emphasis on creating a disciple-making culture as a means to strengthen existing churches and reach the lost with the gospel. The new five-year strategy, “Impacting lostness through disciple-making,” is about pushing back spiritual darkness and reaching more than 5.8 million people in our state who do not know Jesus. We cannot impact lostness if we are not effectively making disciples. To be obedient to Acts 1:8 we must make disciples in our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth.

Disciples recognize that their purpose in life is to glorify God and help others come to know Him. When we talk about creating a disciple-making culture we are referring to an environment, such as your church, Sunday School class, small group meetings or even one-on-one dialogue where believers are challenged and equipped to focus their lives on their call to love God and to love others – which then results in more followers of Christ.

Do you know the difference between converts and disciples? Would you like to learn more about changing converts into disciples? One resource I recommend for learning how your church can become a disciple-making church is the book entitled DiscipleShift. It is written by Jim Putnam and Bob Harrington and published by Zondervan.

A video resource on our website (www.ncbaptist.org) helps explain this in more detail. We call it the “Great Commandment Matrix.”

This tool helps us understand that if we say we love God, but do not express that in love toward others, our lives are probably focused more on religion than on love. It is possible to do a lot of good for people by helping meet physical needs, yet often overlook the opportunity to share the gospel – which is why we are compelled to serve others.

Another resource we use to help explain disciple-making is “Looking at Your Church in 3D.” This is a Christ-centered process to help you discover where you are in your efforts to make disciples, where God is leading your church, and the strategy and resources necessary to help you implement that strategy. Your convention staff is willing and ready to walk with your church through the entire “3D” process as you pray about how you can become more intentional in making disciples.

I also encourage you to read a column on the strategy page of our website (www.ncbaptist.org/strategy) from staff member Brian Upshaw about disciple-making. Brian encourages us not to view disciple-making as “merely religious activity” or just busy activity that fills our calendars. Brian’s question is a good one for us all to consider: “Are you busy investing in others for the sake of the gospel or are you just busy?”

Making disciples begins by building relationships and investing in the lives of people in your neighborhood and community. Who do you know who needs to know Jesus?

And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” (Matthew 4:19)

Creating a disciple-making culture
Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer
April 08, 2013

Creating a disciple-making culture

Creating a disciple-making culture
Milton A. Hollifield Jr., BSC executive director-treasurer
April 08, 2013

Mission and vision clarification are essential in organizations of every size. Unless North Carolina Baptists understand and embrace the mission and vision of this Convention there is little motivation for them to support the future direction of this Convention’s ministry and missionary endeavors.

Our purpose, as stated in the Convention’s bylaws, is, “to assist the churches in their divinely appointed mission.” While there is great breadth in how we may assist the churches, the focus of the Convention’s efforts must be upon churches. This Convention does not exist to be served by the churches, but rather the Convention exists to serve the churches. It has been my goal as I have served as your executive director-treasurer to focus the efforts of the Convention upon the churches comprising this Convention. I greatly value the institutions and agencies of this convention; however, these organizations are to function as an extension of our churches. Throughout our history, member churches have pooled their resources and funded missions through the Cooperative Program and special offerings in part to support these organizations because individual churches could not do alone what has been accomplished through our institutions and agencies.

The vision of the Convention, as endorsed by our board of directors, is a vision that I believe God placed upon my heart for this time period in our history. Simply stated, the vision is, “By God’s grace we will become the strongest force in the history of this Convention for reaching people with the message of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.” The operative term in the vision is “reaching people.” There is a great need for the Convention to refine its focus in its service to its churches; therefore, the focus is upon assisting churches in reaching people. This is, without apology, evangelism, discipleship and mobilization for missions. Your convention staff is now using a term that I hope you are becoming familiar with to describe this three-fold emphasis in assisting churches: disciple-making. Please do not confuse disciple-making with discipleship. Disciple-making is the overarching effort while discipleship is one part of the larger effort. Disciple-making involves leading individuals to Christ, helping new converts grow in their faith, and engaging converts in missionary activities where they, too, begin sharing their faith.

Disciple-making is not a program that the church can begin and complete in a specific number of weeks. Disciple-making is a process that is ongoing, ever growing, and continually changing in an effort to reach and disciple individuals through an Acts 1:8 methodology. More simply stated, our goal is to assist churches in making disciples that make disciples. If the churches of this Convention become filled with disciples, who in turn are making disciples, we will see a new culture established in the churches of this Convention; what we refer to as a disciple-making culture.

Most importantly, if the churches of this Convention develop a disciple-making culture, we will indeed become, “the strongest force in the history of this Convention for reaching people with the message of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”