Theme emphasizes discipleship
    November 18 2010 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor

    Building on the evangelism emphasis of last year, this year’s e3.2 theme at the Baptist State Convention (BSC) focuses on discipleship — encountering God, embracing Christ, expanding the kingdom.

    Four speakers shared about the discipleship emphasis:  

    Bruce Frank, pastor of Biltmore Baptist Church, Arden.
    People want honest, authentic encounters, Frank said. His move from a tropical climate to the mountains around Asheville exposed him to new challenges.

    While he admits he’d like to stay some mornings in his toasty bed, “I get up ‘cause I’ve got kids that need breakfast,” he said. “I get up because I have responsibilities.”

    Too often pastors and even lay people get comfortable.

    “We’ve got to get out of that warm spot,” he said. “God’s got great plans for you.”

    People who are different are not the enemy. “They are our mission field,” Frank said. “When I read my Bible these are the people (Jesus) died for.”

    Only the grace of God has saved Frank from the same fate.  

    Bruce Martin, pastor of Village Baptist Church, Fayetteville.
    People being engulfed by storm cried out to Jesus in the boat.

    “The gates of hell are as wide open as they’ve every been in history,” Martin said. “A torrent of filth has been spewed. Evil has a freedom in America that it has never had before.”

    What do we do?

    Martin wondered if Jesus is taking a nap “waiting for His people to cry out.”  

    Ryan Pack, pastor of First Baptist Church, Hendersonville.
    Seeing the banners displaying the words of the BSC’s theme “should energize us.”

    What would it mean for people in the community to embrace Christ? “I get all excited,” Pack said.

    But how is it going to happen? Better programming? Better worship? Neither.

    But Pack said to turn to Eph. 3:20-21 and focus on who is able.

    “We may not be able to pull off certain things,” Pack said, “but we serve the One who is able.”

    The phrase, “now to him who is able,” comforts Pack.

    “I am convicted by that first phrase,” he said. “Friends so often we strut around like we are able. God will not move until we turn our ability over to Him and off of our shoulders.”

    Whatever the grandest scheme you can concoct for ministry is “rubbish compared to what God wants to do.”

    People should base “every ounce of ministry on His ability.”

    God’s power should be flowing out of His people.

    “It’s not about my ability as a pastor to pull things off,” Pack said, “not because we’re trained enough (or) good enough but because of God’s grace.”  

    Mike Cummings, director of missions of Burnt Swamp Baptist Association.
    Discipling believers is a challenging undertaking.

    “The concept has to be bought into by the churches,” said Cummings, who pointed out that with more than 16 million members, Southern Baptists don’t know where around 60 percent of its members are on a given Sunday.

    “It’s not an encouraging picture at all when you look at our denomination,” Cummings said about the lack of nourishment of a steady diet of God’s word and fellowship with believers.

    A main problem is the assumptions or presuppositions made about believers Cummings fears that North Carolina Baptists may “not have as regenerate church membership as we think we have.”

    Some leaders are discipling people who don’t have a certainty about being saved.

    Cummings said looking at church roles “may be the best way to know who to win for the gospel.”

    America has become too accommodating, Cummings said, highlighting welcoming other religions.

    Believers don’t stress that Jesus provides the only way to heaven.

    “Making disciples is a challenge,” he said. “It’s a challenge to keep clarity.”

    The undertaking is tremendous but necessary.  

    Marcus Redding, pastor of Hull’s Grove Baptist Church, Vale.
    In Matthew when Jesus talks about the original Great Commission, readers miss out on the part that says “Jesus came and spake unto them,” Redding said.

    But pastors too fail to read all of the Great Commission.

    “It’s King Jesus who has commanded us to make disciples,” Redding said. “Pastor, who are you discipling?”

    Pointing to the Convention leadership on the platform behind him, Redding pleaded with messengers not to follow these men but to instead follow Christ.

    “We’ve been given our blueprints by our King,” said Redding, who said he learns lessons on a daily basis.

    He also pointed out that the Convention has materials available to help churches with discipleship. It is the 2011 focus of Find It Here.
    11/18/2010 6:52:00 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Assistant Managing Editor | with 0 comments

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