In staff meeting this week, we talked about the church’s vision statement. Our vision statements says, “Bradfordville First Baptist Church exists to make disciples that love upward, inward, and outward.” We desire to see people loving God, one another, and people in our city and around the world. My passion is for us to know and practice our vision statement. I’ve seen many churches talk about a vision statement, only to never practice it.
What is a disciple? A disciple is a learner and follower of Jesus. Making disciples isn’t optional for a New Testament church. Jesus said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Mt. 28:18-20).
This week’s newsletter article is a joy for me to write and organize. I want you to hear from Bradfordville’s staff team about discipleship and how God is growing us in the faith. I’m confident that you’ll be blessed and challenged by our personal stories.
Pastor Ronny ~ God used His Word and personal relationships to transform my walk with Him. The Lord gave me a hunger and thirst for Him and His truth. The more I studied, the more I wanted to study. I still remember, too, many people God brought into my life that allowed me to lead, make mistakes, and learn from them. I appeal for you to spend time in the Word and find a Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy. You and I need to be discipled; we need to be encouraged; and we need to disciple other people.
Eddie Turner ~ In my journey with the Lord, I have learned that the He consistently uses these things to grow me as a disciple. 1. God speaks through His Word. I have learned that if I really want to know God’s will in a specific matter to prayerfully read His Word. He will speak in His time! 2. God grows me through relationships with other Christians. I am challenged by walking beside others who are striving to be faithful to Him. 3. Without a doubt, the most significant spiritual growth in my life has come from God’s work during very difficult situations. God never wastes a crisis to bring about spiritual growth if we seek Him in the midst of it! 4. I love reading biographies of other Christians. I find great encouragement in seeing how God is working in other’s lives.
Rick Stewart ~ Discipleship is a daily commitment. We can build on what we learn, but we cannot rest on what we learn. I must exercise my discipleship muscles to remain spiritually healthy just like I have to exercise physical muscles for physical health. The habits of Bible study, prayer, and sharing Jesus with others have become ingrained to the point I don’t have to think about whether to do them. The good news is, the more I learn about Jesus the more I want to be with Him. Now I almost welcome troubles because I know they will draw me closer to Him. I only have faith when I have no choice. Troubled times help teach me that I really never have a choice. Jesus is the only way to life.
John Bennett ~ One of the most prominent tools God used to grow me as a disciple was a small group Bible study/community group that met in a home. The group was transformational because the Bible study was very relevant and powerful, questions were challenging and called for self-examination, group members shared openly their stories and testimonies, and a very real commitment was made in the group to love, listen, support, pray and hold each other accountable.
Tom Cooney ~ I have recently been challenged to truly have a desire for those who are lost and do not know Jesus. We sometimes go through life at such a pace that we do not allow ourselves to slow down and look around. There is a song titled, “Give Me Your Eyes” by Brandon Heath, and the chorus reads like this: ‘Give me Your eyes for just one second Give me Your eyes so I can see Everything that I keep missing Give me Your love for humanity Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted The ones that are far beyond my reach Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten Give me Your eyes so I can see.’ My prayer is that I would continue to look around and be willing to be the hands and feet of Jesus to a broken world.
Shannon Vaughan ~ Acts 2:46-47, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Recently the Lord has truly been using my small group (Sunday School) family to encourage me as a disciple of Christ. We have been studying the book of Acts and I love the picture of the early church and what a New Testament church is meant to be and how it should “look”. I love these people! We study together, and we fellowship together, which includes eating, laughing, crying, and we grow, together, as the Body of Christ.
Lauren Gluesenkamp ~ What has God used in my life to help me grow as a disciple? When I face difficulties in my own life, God has proven that these problems are not random mistakes, they are hand-tailored blessings for my benefit and growth. I embrace all circumstances now, trusting Him to bring good out of them. I view problems as opportunities to rely more fully on Him. I thank God for difficulties, since they provide protection from self-reliance.
Stella Cottrell ~ The Wednesday night prayer meetings of going through each book of the Bible has caused me to stretch my thinking and to search Scripture more deeply. The questions asked which cause us to think and ponder in staff meeting have opened new “rooms” in my mind for His Spirit to work in me. The witness of those who have been baptized in our church during the past 2 years has constantly reminded me that the Lord works in so many ways in which we are not even aware or can comprehend.
Dennis Vickers ~ As we went through the transition years, I saw God’s hand at work. Many issues that needed to be handled and posed opportunity for great damage to the church’s unity became non-issues as the Holy Spirit moved out staff and members whose ministry here had come to an end, all without great strife. The Holy Spirit also raised up strong men and women to stand in the gap while we waited for His guidance to hire new staff and reset our eyes on the greater purposes of the church. I am stronger now in my faith and trust because of being a witness to the power of the Holy Spirit working in this, His church. To God be the Glory!
Your church is on mission this week. In the morning, we’re serving breakfast to eighty-two staff members at Deerlake Middle School. It’s one way that we can love people in our city. Bradfordville is a church that is on mission in our city and around the world.
I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday. We have Bible study classes for all ages, and our focus this week in the Holy Land is the Mount of Beatitudes. Are you happy in life? We’ll learn from God’s Word what Jesus says about happiness. It’s also a great Sunday to invite a guest to join you. I’m praying for a special day of Bible study and worship!
Making Disciples that Make Disciples,