Matt Carter serves as pastor of preaching and vision at The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas. Carter will be the keynote speaker for the 2018 Disciple-Making Conference, scheduled for Tues., Feb. 27 at Center Grove Baptist Church in Clemmons.
BP file photo by Van Payne
Matt Carter, pastor of Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas, speaks during the 2013 Pastors’ Conference in Houston prior to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.
Carter recently answered a few questions about disciple-making and what he plans to share at this year’s conference.
Q: What does disciple-making look like at The Austin Stone Community Church?
A: At The Austin Stone, we strive to address four areas of brokenness in our discipleship: our relationship to God, our view of the self, our relationship with others and the way we interact with the physical world. Discipleship necessitates community, so all our efforts are built around that. We have Life Transformation Groups, where two to three people of the same gender meet regularly to read scripture, confess sin, encourage one another and pray. Some of our campuses have discipleship groups, and we also do a yearlong theological intensive that participants do as part of a cohort. We are also constantly calling our people to live on mission and be disciples who make disciples.
Q: You’ve recently completed a doctorate in preaching from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest. How can pastors cast a holistic vision of disciple-making that affirms both evangelism and discipleship in their preaching?
A: The gospel is for the believer and the unbeliever, and our sermons should reflect that. All of our sermons don’t have to be “evangelistic” sermons, but as pastors, we should regularly be calling unbelievers to repentance and faith in Jesus. As a pastor, I’m also called to show Christians how the gospel continues to bear on their life and to call them to greater faithfulness and obedience to Jesus.
Q: In your book, For the City, you write about viewing cities as a mission field and effectively engaging them with the gospel. How should we equip church leaders and church members to carry out this responsibility?
A: Our churches are full of people who have the power of the resurrection of Jesus inside them! As believers in Jesus, they have, right now, the power of God in them, and we ought to be reminding them of this reality and releasing them from our doors. Our cities will be transformed when Holy Spirit-empowered believers begin engaging all corners and pockets of city and culture.
Q: The 2018 Disciple-Making Conference focuses on equipping people to make disciples in their home, church and world. How do you equip people to make disciples in these three realms?
A: We are constantly reminding our people that all of Christian life is one of mission, and God has sovereignly placed us in our homes, churches and spheres of influence to make disciples. To make disciples is to be intentional about it, so we offer classes on what it means to make disciples in those spheres. We teach them theology and offer practical tools they can use. And we encourage them to replicate.
Q: We’re looking to having you with us at the 2018 Disciple-Making Conference. What do you hope attendees will take away from the event?
A: My hope is that conference attendees will leave with an accessible view of what it looks like to make disciples and with tools and resources that will allow them to better live out the Great Commission.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – For more information and to register for the 2018 Disciple-Making Conference, visit disciplenc.org. Registration is $10 per person and includes registration, program materials and lunch. Follow Matt Carter on Twitter at @_Matt_Carter.)