Encouraging, equipping and nurturing a life of faith in Jesus for Jesus
Why Discipleship is Our Focus
"Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Elder Andrew Ho presented this talk to the church at our AGM in April 2022, outlining the focus for our church ministries for the coming year:
If there is anyone we could learn from as to how to build up and maintain a good relationship with God, it must be Jesus. We need to imitate Jesus and learn from him how to do it. We need to be the disciples of Jesus.
If you have been a Christian for a long time, you have probably heard words like “disciple” and “discipling” many times. Essentially, in the Bible, a disciple of Jesus is presented as someone who follows the life and teaching of Jesus.
In Titus 2, Paul was telling Titus what is it all about to be Jesus’ disciples. Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love and in steadfastness. Older women are to be reverent in behaviour, not slanderers or slave to much wine. But that’s not all, Paul keeps on telling the older men and older women to teach the younger men and women sound doctrine. Of course, older, and younger here are only relative. So, no Christian is excused from this.
Paul is literally following the last command that Jesus gave to his followers in Matthew 28. We Christians are to go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that Jesus had commanded his followers.
The disciple-making process is so critical to the message of the Bible that we find the theme running through the whole of Scripture. In the Old Testament we see God’s people regularly commanded to constantly disciple one another by reminding each other of God’s faithfulness and talking about his deeds, especially his rescue of them from Egypt in the Exodus.
In the New Testament we see the disciple-making process begun in the ministry of John the Baptist as he prepares men and women for the coming Christ. We see it in Christ’s work as he calls out and trains his initial followers. We see it as the church forms in the book of Acts to implement the risen Christ’s command to “go and make disciples.” We see it in the Epistles as the church grows in its understanding of the disciple making task, both for the church as a whole and for individual believers.
Disciples are not “Super Christians.” Disciples are everyday life followers of Jesus.
Usually, we think of discipling as relational and on one-on-one basis. It is but that is not the whole of how disciple-making takes place. Think of discipling on a much larger scale—what we do together as a church in our public worship services. At its core, discipling is when a pastor stands before us and expounds God’s Word to us. But it is also what the church does in the songs we sing, in the Scripture that’s read, in the weekly opportunities to serve together and encourage one another, in the relationships that it fosters, and in the mutuality of gifts and love that make up the body of Christ on earth. In one sense, the church body is a greenhouse that God himself has constructed to grow and cultivate disciples of Christ, to the glory of God the Father.
Discipling is not a program but a focus of every ministry in HBC. We preach the Gospel, bring people to Jesus, baptise them, introduce them to ministries and small groups, help them to build up relationships within those ministries and groups so that they can experience Christian fellowship … they will then disciple others.
Discipling includes these four parts:
1. Discipling people into a relationship with God.
2. Discipling people to serve others: coaching them into their ministry
3. Discipling people to support each other: to introduce people to small group or ministry team. Through friendship / fellowship, people learn how to care for each other.
4. Discipling people to disciple others (going through the steps 1 to 3)
You will need some tools to do this, such as
• ways to explain Gospel to someone who has never heard about Jesus before
• tools that help with leading a small group, prayer group or one-on-one Bible study
• how to introduce people to our ministries and building up fellowship with other believers, supporting each other; and how to encouraging each other to disciple others.
As the greenhouse of discipleship, the church will do two things:
1. Publish on the church web page guidelines, tools, materials and support on discipling.
2. Hold seminars similar to the ones that have been helpful in the past.
Discipleship is not a programme; it is not a seminar;
but it is a focus of every ministry at HBC.
To be a Christian is to be a disciple of Jesus.
After his resurrection, Jesus appeared to the first disciples and gave them his instructions for discipleship. These, recorded in Matthew 28:19 & 20 , are expanded on, illustrated and explained in Acts and the Epistles. Discipleship includes:
Faith in Jesus Christ
Learning about Jesus and how to follow him
Being baptised as believers in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit
Obeying all that Christ has commanded
Living by faith in all of life
Worshipping and fellowshipping in the Church
Sharing the gospel and making disciples
To be a disciple of Jesus is to make disciples. Making disciples includes these four parts:
Discipling people into a relationship with God.
Discipling people to serve others: coaching them into their ministry
Discipling people to support each other: introducing people to small group or ministry team. It is through friendship/fellowship , people learn how to care for each other.
Discipling people to disciple others (going through the steps 1 to 3)
But especially in within five key contexts: Your church; Your faith and obedience; Your personal and shared Bible reading and prayer; Your home and vocation; Your personal and shared witness.
You, the Spirit, the Word, and the Church.
But we have training and resources available: