"Therefore 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." - Matthew 28:19-20
Following the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), the final admonition Jesus gave to His disciples during His earthly ministry, Northside Baptist Church believes we exist to make disciples of Jesus Christ both here and abroad.
But saying we exist to make disciples without defining what a disciple is or by what process they are made is like an automobile manufacturer saying they exist to make cars. What do they mean by cars – gas, electric, hybrid, compact, sedan, truck, etc.? How do they make them – by what process are they designed, put together, delivered, sold, serviced, etc.?
The leadership of our church has been going through a study of the New Testament to come to a Biblical understanding of what is a disciple and how are they made. We have come to the following definition of a disciple:
A disciple of Jesus is a person who has committed himself to increasingly become like Jesus through the intentional and sequential process of growth that Jesus used with His original disciples.
Through our study of Scripture and the history of the New Testament times, we have come to understand the basic characteristics of a disciple to be:
- Submission to a master
- Memorization of the master’s words (knowledge)
- Action or service in the master’s ministry (skills)
- Imitation of the master’s life (character)
- Multiplication by finding more disciples for the master
We think that these characteristics are the basis of commitment to our Master, Jesus Christ.
Our study of Scripture also led us to see that Jesus intentionally and sequentially led His disciples through four phases of growth. Those four phases are:
- Come and See
- Come and Follow Me
- Come and Be With Me
- Remain in Me
We believe that the combination of the five characteristics of a disciple with the four phases of growth is the process of how disciples are made.
Our study of the New Testament has also helped us to understand the three levels of relationships that each disciple is to have and that will help in the process of growth. These three levels of relationship are equally valuable and necessary in the life of a disciple:
- Relationship in Unity
- Relationship in Fellowship
- Relationship in Intimacy
The church leadership bears the responsibility to lead the congregation – to provide the setting and structures necessary for growth believing that discipleship is a whole-church endeavor. The church members bear the responsibility to follow Christ – to pursue growth in Christ believing that discipleship is a whole-life endeavor. In all things, we recognize that it is submission to the work of the Holy Spirit that actually brings growth.
One of the first steps for every new disciple is Baptism - your identification with Jesus Christ. One of the first steps for every disciple that is new to Northside is InLine - our new member class.