Lake Norman: Discipline produces disciples
Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications
February 15, 2011

Lake Norman: Discipline produces disciples

Lake Norman: Discipline produces disciples
Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications
February 15, 2011

The opening line from an article featured last year in

Christianity Today read, “Americans love their Bibles. So much so that they

keep them in pristine, unopened condition.”

Perhaps harsh, yet according to research, perhaps quite

true. The article mentioned a Time magazine cover story reporting that only

half of adults in the United States can name one of the four Gospels and fewer

than half can identify Genesis as the first book in the Bible.

In a Barna research study, American Christians were asked to

rate their spiritual maturity based on activities such as worship, service and

evangelism. “Christians offered the harshest evaluation of their Bible

knowledge, with 25 percent calling themselves not too mature or not at all

mature,” noted Christianity Today. “Even weekly churchgoers who know the names

and places struggle to put it all together and understand the Bible as a single

story of redemption.”

The issue at hand is more than biblical illiteracy: it’s a

lack of discipleship. Believers who have not been discipled may not understand

the necessity of studying God’s Word and applying the truths of scripture to

their lives.

Pastor Bobby Blanton and the staff of Lake Norman Baptist

Church in Huntersville recently decided it was time to get serious about really

studying the Bible. Instead of just encouraging all the church members to read

through the Bible, the staff made this a collective focus for the entire

congregation for an entire year.

The Voyage

Last year members of Lake Norman were challenged to

participate in The Voyage, a one-year read through the Bible in chronological

order. Every member who committed to taking on the challenge received a

one-year chronological Bible and journal. Lay leaders in the church were

enlisted to write a curriculum to run parallel to the daily Bible readings.

This curriculum was used in all the adult Sunday School classes for the entire


The idea to structure this process of reading through the

Bible in the format that came to be known as The Voyage came from associate

pastor Landon Horton.

“People were looking for an opportunity to read through the

Bible and looking for the accountability they would get from the church and

their Sunday School class as they did that together,” Blanton said.

Blanton used the Wednesday evening services as a time to

work through with the congregation key issues or themes from that week’s

reading. In addition, his sermons last year focused on scripture from the

weekly reading.

This required Blanton to stay a good two months ahead of the

congregation in his reading. “It was a daily discipline,” he said. “I was able

to work through things I knew the congregation would be going through. This

brought a greater accountability to me as well.”

Blanton first introduced the idea to his staff and then to

Sunday School leaders. In early 2009, writers were enlisted to develop the

curriculum. At the end of 2009, The Voyage was presented to the congregation

and members were asked to consider participating.

“We wanted them to make the connection between what is in

the scriptures and how it impacts their personal life,” Blanton said. “The Word

of God is very relevant to what we do every single day. No matter what profession

you’re in, what your walk with the Lord is, the Word of God can address your


Acts 1:8

This year Lake Norman is “building on the foundation”

established in 2010. Last year this time Blanton and his staff were already

looking ahead as to how they would continue with The Voyage.

While the 2010 Bible reading plan maintained an intense

pace, this year’s approach will move more slowly, allowing more time for the

texts. Following a similar format, the congregation is reading through three

books of the Bible this year: Mark, Acts and Revelation.

The congregation is starting with Mark and reading one

chapter in Mark each day of the week for an entire week. When Mark concludes at

the end of April they will begin with Acts.

Blanton said these books were chosen because the 2011 voyage

is a “missions-focused voyage” that will help the church learn from scripture

how and why they need to step up their intensity and focus on missions. The

Voyage is part of the church’s 10-year, Acts 1:8 strategy for discipleship.

Blanton hopes the church will see through their Bible reading this year that

everything they read “relates to our going out and being faithful to take the

gospel to our Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and uttermost ends of the earth.”

Other churches are now using Lake Norman’s curriculum. “God

took this idea and helped to enrich not just the lives of people around Lake

Norman, but throughout parts of the world,” Blanton said.

For more information about The Voyage visit

www.lakenormanbaptist.com or e-mail [email protected].

Related story

Leaders want to make disciples, transform lives

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