Leaders want to make disciples, transform lives
    February 15 2011 by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications

    From research about why young adults are leaving the church to why so many churches are plateaued or declining, it’s not hard to find evidence pointing out the desperate need for transformation in churches across the country.

    The latest study from LifeWay research takes on a different approach. Transformational Church focuses not so much on the negative trends as it does on what needs to happen in order to reverse those trends.

    A major part of seeing transformation in the church comes when churches stop measuring success by the numbers and start measuring success by whether or not lives are being changed.

    Find it Here 2011: Embracing Christ is an effort to help churches focus not on building a larger budget, or bigger buildings, or better attendance, but to focus on helping people obey the commands of Jesus Christ to follow Him and abide in Him.

    This type of life transformation only comes when churches are committed to making disciples.

    “Through a simple and intentional discipleship strategy, churches can decide how to customize the Find it Here emphasis to make disciples in their own context,” said Lynn Sasser, Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) executive leader for congregational services.

    “Through Find it Here we pray that North Carolina Baptist churches across this state will, by the power of the Holy Spirit, develop a disciple-making culture in the church that leads to radical lifestyle changes. We pray this will produce disciples who are ready to follow Christ no matter the cost.”

    Find it Here 2011 includes two emphases: Following Christ (spring 2011) and Abiding in Christ (fall 2011). With each emphasis churches are encouraged to commit to:
    • Pray for disciples.
    • Preach on discipleship.
    • Teach discipleship in classrooms and in homes.
    • Make disciples by participating in a 2011 Easter evangelism emphasis.
    • Be disciples in the community by serving.
    Free resources to help churches carry out the Find it Here emphasis are available for download at www.finditherenc.org. This site features videos, sermon outlines, Bible study lessons and prayer/devotional guides. Churches can also sign up and pledge support to making this a year marked by intentional disciple-making.  

    Easter Evangelism

    Find it Here 2011 is the second year in a three-year emphasis on evangelism, discipleship and missions. The first phase of Find it Here, evangelism, kicked off last year. Churches committed to intentional evangelism and to baptizing new believers.

    Discipleship cannot happen without evangelism because discipleship cannot begin until a person has heard the gospel and received Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior.

    Therefore, pastors and church leaders are asked this year, as they were last year, to lead their churches to do the following:
    • Pray for non-believers (family members, friends, neighbors and work associates) by name.
    • Invite those non-believers to attend the Easter Sunday morning worship service.
    • Preach an evangelistic sermon and extend an evangelistic invitation.
    • Baptize new converts on Easter Sunday or the Sunday following.  
    Missions in 2012
    The Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 does not end with baptism, nor does it end with making disciples. Believers are commanded to make disciples of all nations — which means believers are to take the gospel to those who have never heard, whether crossing the street to talk with a neighbor or crossing the ocean to share the gospel in a place void of any evangelical witness.

    Missions is the focus of the final Find it Here phase. This phase will be introduced to North Carolina Baptists later this year so they will be ready to launch a missions emphasis in 2012.Similar to last year’s Find it Here evangelism focus and this year’s discipleship focus, resources will be available to help North Carolina Baptists learn what it means to be on-mission. “The biblical command from the Lord is to live missional lives,” said Chuck Register, BSC executive leader for church planting and missions development. “Missions involves a strategic, intentional, verbal communication of the gospel. We must develop a missions lifestyle.” 

    When all three aspects of Find it Here — evangelism, discipleship and missions — work together to produce life transformation among believers, churches are changed, communities are changed, and more people hear about the salvation that only comes through Jesus Christ.

    For more information about Find it Here visit www.finditherenc.org, e-mail findithere@ncbaptist.org or call (800) 395-5102, ext. 5648.  

    Related story
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    2/15/2011 4:28:00 AM by Melissa Lilley, BSC Communications | with 0 comments




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