Pastors say disciple-making is God’s plan
    December 19 2013 by C. Walter Overman, BSC Communications

    For Robert Hernandez, disciple-making is essential to the Christian life and a critical mark of the New Testament church.

    “When a church loses its focus on making disciples we really shouldn’t call ourselves a church, at least a New Testament church, anymore,” said Hernandez, who serves as pastor of El Centro Del Señor church in Cullowhee and Casa de Dios church in Canton.
    Hernandez planted El Centro with an emphasis on disciple-making, from which came the birth of Casa de Dios nine years later. Last month El Centro celebrated its anniversary with a special service and continues to focus on disciple-making through its preaching and teaching ministry.
    “Every time I speak in front of the church we talk about making disciples,” Hernandez said. “That’s why we exist as a church, and as I get up to preach every week I remind people of that purpose.”

    BSC photo by Mike Creswell
    Robert Hernandez, pastor of El Centro Del Señor church in Cullowhee and Casa de Dios church in Canton, emphasizes disciple-making.

    Hernandez is intentional about creating mentoring relationships, investing in peoples’ lives and walking them through the basics of Christianity. Once they mature in their walk with Christ, he sends them out to continue the cycle.
    “They can take it from there, and I still talk to them and encourage them, and we talk about opportunities to begin discipling someone else,” he said. “I try to get them together with people who need that so they can go do a Bible study in their home with them.”
    He is also intentional about mentoring people who demonstrate the ability to lead.
    “When I see potential leaders, teachers or preachers I tend to focus on discipling them more intensely,” Hernandez said.
    One such leader is Louis, a former member of El Centro who was instrumental in the planting of Casa de Dios.
    “Louis very early on caught that vision of disciple-making,” Hernandez said. “He has a very strong burden for making disciples for Christ and we’ve made that again a focus of that church.”
    Now, Casa de Dios members are forming Saturday night Bible studies and discipleship classes in a neighboring county, from which they hope to birth another church.
    Our hope is that these small groups will eventually become a church as we begin to gather these groups together,” Hernandez said. “We hope to repeat everything there.”
    Hernandez said the disciple-making process requires time, patience and, most importantly, obedience to Jesus.
    “If you look at the Great Commission there is no other option, there is no other plan.”

    Marching orders

    Scottie Patrick, pastor of Cashiers Baptist Church in Cashiers, called the Great Commission non-negotiable.    
    “His command to us is to go and make disciples of all the nations,” Patrick said. “The Great Commission is the marching orders for our church and every Christian, and ought to be the marching orders of every church.”
    When Patrick began his pastorate at Cashiers five years ago he implemented strategies for training members in evangelism and spiritual growth. As part of that ongoing emphasis, two years ago he began offering regular discipleship classes using the MasterLife curriculum.
    Patrick said it has been a long process, and more work is yet to be done, but the fruit of their labor is beginning to show.
    “They are growing in their relationship with the Lord,” he said. “They are willing now to step out and do something they have never been willing to do before – to open up their homes to invite lost folks in to share the gospel with them.”
    Seventeen families from Cashiers committed to hosting people in their homes during the recent My Hope with Billy Graham evangelistic emphasis. Patrick said their response demonstrates the importance of implementing an intentional discipleship process.
    “That was a major increase from what we had seen several years ago and some of them are still doing the Billy Graham emphasis, resulting in one young girl coming to faith last week.”
    Although disciple-making is a slow process, the end result makes the effort worthwhile.
    “One of the desires of my heart as a pastor is that our people would know the joy of having God use them to lead someone else to faith in Christ,” Patrick said. “When that happens, there is great joy.”
    For more information on disciple-making, please contact Brian Upshaw, Team Leader for the Disciple-making Team at or (800) 395-5102, ext. 5632.
    12/19/2013 1:08:00 PM by C. Walter Overman, BSC Communications | with 0 comments
    Filed under: discipleship, Great Commission, missions

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