In 2016 we realized there was little evangelistic vision and urgency in our life and ministry, our members were not being properly equipped as godly disciple-makers and we lacked the skill to plan and grow ministries around disciple-making. In God’s providence, He brought along instruction that addressed those issues. In February 2017, we eagerly commenced teaching, by word and example, how to implement a culture of disciple-making in our church.
For the first time in our Christian walk, we began to sift every aspect of our lives and ministry through the filter of the Great Commission. Our theme has become, Each one win one (personal evangelism). Each one lead one (mentor in one-on-one discipleship). Each one follow one (be mentored in one-on-one discipleship). Each one take one (take one Bible class per year).
This simple plan reiterates our church’s purpose statement (Evangelize the lost. Disciple the saved. Train leaders.) in a way that every member is challenged to accomplish his part. God’s chosen method for both conversion and growth of the saints is not just the responsibility of the pastor or missionary, but of all God’s people as they are trained and equipped to prayerfully speak God’s Word to others (Ephesians 4:11-12). This is now the central priority of our ministry.
Creating a New Culture
After teaching and preaching these concepts to our leaders and then to our people, many were excited and ready to begin a mentoring relationship with a more mature believer and/or mentor a believer newer in the faith. The shift in mindset toward each one shepherding the soul of another is phenomenal! Pastoral crisis counseling has decreased dramatically while personal growth in the Word has increased.
After “preparing the nursery,” or equipping each willing disciple to be a disciple-maker, we taught a course on personal evangelism and began to encourage each one to intentionally evangelize at least one unsaved contact. Folks are befriending their coworkers and neighbors for the purpose of evangelism and are even reading the Bible together!
As the believers in Pilar became examples (1 Thessalonians 1:7), other pastors wanted to know how they could implement a similar disciple-making culture in their own church. The Lord enabled us to offer a Disciple-Making Conference in September 2017, and we continue to provide ongoing support and teaching to those pastors. Other missionaries and national pastors are gradually embracing this Bible-centered, disciple-making vision, and expressing their commitment in both their personal lives and ministries. Our prayer is that we may be able to create a network of interdependent churches that help plant new churches and revitalize and grow existing churches.
Vision for the Future
To God be the glory for all that He has done since 2017! Much has been accomplished, yet there is still much to be done. Our desire is to fine-tune the disciple-making culture that has been established in Pilar (Acts 1:8 evangelism and discipleship in our Jerusalem and interdependence with like-minded churches in our Judea and beyond). This city needs at least five more churches planted (one church for every 50,000 inhabitants), and Argentina even more (740 churches)!
We long to continue to see the fruit of the Great Commission in our personal life, home, and ministry. We desire to see our church folks intentionally and lovingly reach their neighbors and coworkers with urgency, for the purpose of making disciples and then teaching them to obey all that Christ has commanded (Matthew 28:19-20). This is our vision because we believe it is God’s vision.
Spiritual Road Map
We often hear, “So, where do I begin? How can I implement a disciple-making culture in my life or in my church?”
First and foremost, begin with prayer. Ask for God to show you who He would have you to disciple. Maybe it’s a new believer or maybe it’s someone who’s just a little younger in the faith (Titus 2:1-10).
Each one lead one.
Each one follow one.
We always start by going through the Foundations Bible study (Grace Discipleship Series) as the first step. It doesn’t matter if someone has been saved two days or two decades, this book is the springboard for disciple-making. If someone is young in the faith, it might take them a year or two to complete the study together with you, as they will have many questions along the way. If someone has known Christ for longer, then you can go through the study with them so that they can then teach it to others.
Along the way, your mentor-disciple relationship will develop into a Paul-Timothy relationship like we see in 2 Timothy 2:2. You will encourage them in their Christian walk in their personal holiness, to be more faithful to attend and serve in their local church and to start praying about who they would disciple in the future. At first, meeting together once a week is ideal. In order to make this more feasible, we encourage our people to meet together before or during the Wednesday evening service.
At some point in this process, you will want to encourage your disciple to join the church (if he hasn’t already).
The next Bible study in the Grace Discipleship Series is The Walk, which explores ten practical areas of the Christian life.
Your mentor-disciple relationship is so much more than studying together. You will want to intentionally develop a relationship with your disciple and be transparent enough so that they can see your struggles and follow your godly example.
At this point, meeting together monthly for Bible study and prayer with your disciple should be sufficient, if you are including them in other aspects of your personal and/or family life.
After that, we usually go through Changed Into His Image by Jim Berg.
Each one win one.
The next step is to go through a personal evangelism course like The Exchange seminar or similar Bible study with your disciple. The goal is that they would be equipped to share the Gospel in a relational way with their unsaved family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers. At this point (if not sooner), they should be ready to begin to disciple a new believer or a Christian who is younger in the faith (step 2).
1 LIFE. 2 A LIFE. 4 LIFE.
And it doesn’t end there! You will continue to mentor your disciple for life! You can continue to meet together for prayer, encouragement, and study in the Word as often as necessary (every 3 months or so).
You can read quality Christian books in small groups (ask your pastor for recommendations) and/or take Bible Institute classes together. We offer a variety of small groups, for couples and singles, which does not replace one-on-one discipleship but serves to add another layer to disciple-making.