Don’t get me wrong. I am not hating on churches at all. However, I do believe there is a great need for discipleship.
I would like to share a little of my own personal story.
I remember the night I was saved. I know it was a Sunday night even though I can’t remember the sermon that was preached. I knew the Holy Spirit was dealing with me. My hands had a tight, white knuckled grip on the back of the pew in front of me. I was going to the altar even if God was going to pull me through three rows of pews to get me there.
After I got up from the altar, I did not know I was supposed to tell anyone. Evidence soon showed up in my life to where people could tell I had become a regenerated believer.
This is where things took a turn down a crooked road. My teenage years were divided amongst two youth groups. From my best recollection, the ultimate goal of the Christian life was not more of God but what I could do for God.
Life became a checklist. Did I read my Bible? Did I go to church? Don’t have long hair, don’t listen to rock or rap, don’t watch this, don’t read that.
Then I graduated high school and there was no where to go. The church I was attending did not have a place for college students. So, I left the church. I was burned out over the checklist so I gave that up too.
Long story short, God drew me back to Him, to church and to pastoral ministry.
I believe that my leaving the church could have been avoided if someone had come alongside me and discipled me. I didn’t need a checklist. I needed to be shown grace. I needed to see that the gospel is enough for salvation but is also needed every waking moment that I am alive. I needed to be shown what it looks like to be conformed to the image of Jesus.
Sadly, we have left too many new Christians at the altar. They get saved and then find themselves, like I did, abandoned and alone.
We need mature Christians…disciple making Christians to come alongside these new believers and help them navigate this new life. Disciples that make disciples. Isn’t this what the church in Acts modeled for us?
When these new disciples start to mature, they will begin making disciples. Disciples that make disciples that make disciples….this is possible.
We must pour ourselves out into the lives of those that we are discipling. They must see the gospel at work in our everyday life. They must witness how Scripture pertains to real life. They need to watch as we ourselves become more conformed to the image of Jesus.
There is hope. It is found in Christ. We can turn the tide and walk beside new Christians instead of leaving them stranded. I believe a new page will be turned in church history and we are truly going to see disciples making disciples. This will happen because churches will live unashamed of the gospel.