Building on the evangelism
emphasis of last year, this year’s e3.2 theme at the Baptist State Convention
(BSC) focuses on discipleship — encountering God, embracing Christ, expanding
Four speakers shared about
the discipleship emphasis:
Bruce Frank, pastor of
Biltmore Baptist Church, Arden.
People want honest,
authentic encounters, Frank said. His move from a tropical climate to the
mountains around Asheville exposed him to new challenges.
While he admits he’d like to
stay some mornings in his toasty bed, “I get up ‘cause I’ve got kids that need
breakfast,” he said. “I get up because I have responsibilities.”
Too often pastors and even
lay people get comfortable.
“We’ve got to get out of
that warm spot,” he said. “God’s got great plans for you.”
People who are different are
not the enemy. “They are our mission field,” Frank said. “When I read my Bible
these are the people (Jesus) died for.”
Only the grace of God has
saved Frank from the same fate.
Bruce Martin, pastor of
Village Baptist Church, Fayetteville.
People being engulfed by
storm cried out to Jesus in the boat.
“The gates of hell are as
wide open as they’ve every been in history,” Martin said. “A torrent of filth
has been spewed. Evil has a freedom in America that it has never had before.”
What do we do?
Martin wondered if Jesus is
taking a nap “waiting for His people to cry out.”
Ryan Pack, pastor of First
Baptist Church, Hendersonville.
Seeing the banners
displaying the words of the BSC’s theme “should energize us.”
What would it mean for
people in the community to embrace Christ? “I get all excited,” Pack said.
But how is it going to
happen? Better programming? Better worship? Neither.
But Pack said to turn to
Eph. 3:20-21 and focus on who is able.
“We may not be able to pull
off certain things,” Pack said, “but we serve the One who is able.”
The phrase, “now to him who
is able,” comforts Pack.
“I am convicted by that
first phrase,” he said. “Friends so often we strut around like we are able. God
will not move until we turn our ability over to Him and off of our shoulders.”
Whatever the grandest scheme
you can concoct for ministry is “rubbish compared to what God wants to do.”
People should base “every
ounce of ministry on His ability.”
God’s power should be
flowing out of His people.
“It’s not about my ability
as a pastor to pull things off,” Pack said, “not because we’re trained enough
(or) good enough but because of God’s grace.”
Mike Cummings, director of
missions of Burnt Swamp Baptist Association.
Discipling believers is a challenging
“The concept has to be
bought into by the churches,” said Cummings, who pointed out that with more
than 16 million members, Southern Baptists don’t know where around 60 percent
of its members are on a given Sunday.
“It’s not an encouraging
picture at all when you look at our denomination,” Cummings said about the lack
of nourishment of a steady diet of God’s word and fellowship with believers.
A main problem is the
assumptions or presuppositions made about believers
Cummings fears that North
Carolina Baptists may “not have as regenerate church membership as we think we
Some leaders are discipling
people who don’t have a certainty about being saved.
Cummings said looking at
church roles “may be the best way to know who to win for the gospel.”
America has become too
accommodating, Cummings said, highlighting welcoming other religions.
Believers don’t stress that
Jesus provides the only way to heaven.
“Making disciples is a
challenge,” he said. “It’s a challenge to keep clarity.”
The undertaking is
tremendous but necessary.
Marcus Redding, pastor of
Hull’s Grove Baptist Church, Vale.
In Matthew when Jesus talks
about the original Great Commission, readers miss out on the part that says
“Jesus came and spake unto them,” Redding said.
But pastors too fail to read
all of the Great Commission.
“It’s King Jesus who has
commanded us to make disciples,” Redding said. “Pastor, who are you
Pointing to the Convention
leadership on the platform behind him, Redding pleaded with messengers not to
follow these men but to instead follow Christ.
“We’ve been given our
blueprints by our King,” said Redding, who said he learns lessons on a daily
He also pointed out that the
Convention has materials available to help churches with discipleship. It is
the 2011 focus of Find It Here.