Disciple Making - by Pastor Lester Zimmerman

Our Hopewell Network theme for 2023 is Transforming Church and Culture.
Sounds like a very noble and spiritual goal, but how do we do this in a way that brings transformation? It probably goes without saying that the church needs to be transformed before we can see any meaningful transformation in the culture. We need to transform the culture inside the church first. We need our minds renewed or realigned into a biblical worldview.

There are many things we could engage in to make a difference in our culture and many of them are good. But the one area that I believe is key to transformation in church and culture is making true biblical disciples.

The church has become good at attracting people and making converts, but not very good at making transformative disciples. Disciples that truly change culture instead of adapting to it.
A biblical disciple is one who not only accepts Jesus as their Savior, but that also makes Jesus Lord of every area of their life with a complete and total surrender to his teaching and way. A disciple begins to think like Jesus and live like Jesus. In America 69% claim to be “Christian” but only 9% have a biblical worldview and live according to biblical values. In other words, only 9% of born-again Christians in our nation think and live like biblical Jesus.

Jesus’ number one assignment to the church, that will transform both church and culture, is to “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. ” Matthew 28:19-20
Jesus’ definition of a disciples is one who obeys everything he commands in scripture. The focus is on obedience to his word. Jesus makes this clear when he says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Matt 7:21

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching.” John 14:23
Then he said to them all, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me." Matthew 16:24 
So how do we make disciples in 2023? How do we disciple those who only connect with us online? How do we develop a biblical worldview and a biblical lifestyle in our followers? How do we make disciples in a feeling-oriented culture that worships at the altar of self?
I give a clarion call to Sunday school teachers, small group leaders, and all teachers and preachers of the word. We need to help our students rediscover a deep love for both Jesus and his word.  We need to go back to solid biblical preaching and teaching and not just entertainment story telling with a few proof texts thrown in. I encourage you to preach through a whole book of the Bible several times a year. Showing your people how to dig out the treasures in both the Old and New Testament.

II Timothy 4:2 - Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season.
Titus 1:9 - Hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that (you) can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

The biblical way of becoming a disciple is to walk closely and model yourself after your teacher and his teachings. If people following us see us in love with God’s word, it will create a hunger in them as well. A disciple maker must be a student of the word. Not just intellectually but relationally living it.

For churches committed to making true disciples and not just converts and attenders, it is helpful to have a discipleship plan in place for new believers to follow. Again, the more relational you can make it the better. We don’t want to just produce intellectual Christians, but those deeply committed to Jesus relationally. This is where small groups can be helpful.
How do we transform church and culture? From the inside out. One transformed disciple at a time being sent into the culture as salt and light. That’s how the early church transformed their world.




no categories