Discipleship is the heart of God’s desire for His children. Saints, or God’s saved ones, are exhorted to become Christ’s disciples and commissioned by Him to go and make disciples among all the nations. Because we desire to do the whole will of God, Family Discipleship Ministries has been developing materials on discipleship and Christian living to help the Church edify the body of Christ. Counseling, annual marriage retreats, men’s and/or women’s ministry, Bible studies, group home-fellowships, and youth ministries are thriving, so we know that the value and need for ministries is recognized. We pray that this presentation will communicate the biblical perspective, God’s perspective, on the vital importance of discipleship and the need to implement a vision and clear strategy to leaders and your flock. We pray that God’s desire for true discipleship will become the Church’s vision and the inspiration for moving forward.
God’s Command to Believers
Matthew 28:19-20 “’Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’ Amen.”
The Lord Jesus commissioned us to make disciples, and teach the saints to observe all things included in God’s Word. This biblical command is clear; the process was demonstrated by Jesus during His public ministry and carried on in the early Church by His followers. It is a command that God tells all believers to follow until the end of the age. How many Churches are now functioning in full understanding of Jesus’ command? Evangelical Churches embrace Matthew 28:19-20 as Jesus’ Great Commission to seek and save people through preaching the gospel. At the same time, the spiritual condition of many professing believers and their families within the body of Christ reflects the reality that few Christians have been discipled in properly tending to the things God has given them; as Christ said, “teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.”
Today, many Christians are not abiding in Jesus—His Word daily due to not knowing how or embracing the absolute necessity of abiding in order to walk in God’s power (John 15:7). Christian families are reaping the negative fruit of this neglect as it is reflected within the divorce rate, which is rapidly catching up to that of the world. Children from Christian homes are using drugs, abusing alcohol, and indulging in sexual sin and unhealthy relationships. Statistics tell us that over 65% of children being raised in Christian homes, and who also have spent over 10 years in some kind of Church youth group, are walking away from their faith after leaving home. Rebellion and disrespect toward parents and authority is now considered common adolescent behavior, even in the Church. The fact is, many Christians are spiritually weak and our families are in serious trouble.
Church leadership may place blame for this condition on the laziness of believers, or their unwillingness to just obey God’s will when faced with the temptations and distractions of the world we live in. But, the real problem is not so much laziness, or what is happening outside our Churches and homes—it is what’s not happening within our Churches and homes. Many Christians would define discipleship as a class for new believers where they learn the foundational doctrines of the faith, which is of the utmost importance. But more than that, to be discipled means learning how to be like Jesus and how to tend to everything He has instructed us to do with a desire to do it. At a certain point of maturity, the student begins to lead and teach others.
In the beginning, after God created Adam and Eve, He designed the family, and it’s clear it is important to Him and should be a priority when it comes to our discipleship strategy. Today, many families in the Church are failing; Christians are ignorant of God’s truth, the instruction given to help build and maintain a family according to God’s will and desire. While Churches are not intentionally ignoring these problems, general discipling and the ministry of the family are not clearly defined within their vision of equipping believers with biblical strategies for success. God considers the tending to our families more important than a job, hobby, or even serving at Church; yet most believers do not live this way and have never been discipled in biblical truths that apply to family life. The family unit is the frontline of ministry for husbands and wives and God wants us to know and follow the biblical instructions on how to fulfill these crucial roles.