Broadview is a Great Commandment, Great Commission, Acts 1:8 Church. We exist for the glory of God by loving Him with the entirety of our being, loving others as we love ourselves, and making disciples in our own Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and uttermost parts of the world. Love God. Love People. Make Disciples who make disciples.
You might think of this in terms of three points on a triangle. The three points represent the relational arenas in which every disciple lives. Your relationship with God, your relationship with other believers and your relationship with unbelievers. To simplify, the three points on the triangle would be God, the Church, and the World.
When thinking through what it means to be a disciple, different people offer different definitions. Definitions are important. If the mission of a church is to make disciples but that church cannot agree on what a disciple is, then that church will have difficulty moving forward in her mission.
The purpose of this these articles is to put forward an agreed upon definition of what a disciple looks like, how disciples grow, and how disciple-making takes place in the context of this local church.
At Broadview we envision God using us to multiply disciples, bless our city, plant churches and send missionaries. The most central element of this vision is creating a disciple-making culture of multiplication.
What we envision God creating is not some discipleship program but a disciple-making movement.
If a movement is to be successful then the ideas supporting that movement must be simple and reproducible. If you think back to the great movements of the world, the ideas driving the movement were documented in some form or fashion. Let me offer just a few examples.
- The Declaration of Independence by Thomas Jefferson,
- The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx,
- The 95 Theses by Martin Luther,
- Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky,
Movements, for good or for evil, have always had their ideas documented in written form. God himself, when choosing to begin the ultimate movement the world has even seen, saw fit to document the ideas behind that movement in written form (the Scriptures). That is the anatomy of a movement.
You’ll be hard pressed to find any movement in the past that didn’t canonize the ideas supporting the movement in some kind of written form. So, if we want to create a disciple-making movement in our church then we need to document the ideas supporting that movement.
- We need an agreed upon definition of what a disciple is.
- We need an agreed upon description of what a disciple does.
- We need an agreed upon pathway for making disciples in this local church.
- We need an common language for discussing all of the above.
Since I’m the pastor of this church I feel like it’s my responsibility to provide those things. The content isn’t original with me. I’m just trying to take what I’ve learned and pass along the ideas that are (1) simple, (2) biblical, and (3) easily transferrable. The goal is to show you a vision of disciple-making that is so simple that an uneducated fisherman from East Asia could do it.
We need a vision of disciple-making that is so simple you could draw it out on a napkin.
In reality, that’s how the idea for these posts were born. I was on a mission trip to East Asia helping host a conference on Disciple-making. It was a summer trip and I had spent that whole spring reading about discipleship and trying to discern what the Lord had for Broadview in that arena.
I had internally deemed that year “the year of discipleship.” I desperately needed a word from the Lord on how we should move forward in making disciples who make disciples in our unique context with our unique culture. The Lord showed me many things but it was that trip to East Asia that solidified everything.
I was discussing discipleship with a friend at Starbucks there in East Asia. After our discussion he drew out on a napkin the simplest, most biblical and reproducible vision for discipleship that I had ever seen. I knew at that point I had to put it into writing.
It’s been close to a year since that time. With the demands of the pastorate, getting these ideas into writing hasn’t been easy. I’ve done more than one sermon series around the ideas on that napkin. I’ve trained and am continuing to train a team of personal discipleship coaches in our church with the concepts that I derived from that napkin. Moreover, I’m fully committed to eventually getting it all down on paper so that the Lord might bring about that disciple-making culture of multiplication that we envision for our church.
The reasons why people don’t multiply are probably nuanced and complicated. But the major reason is probably because they don’t have a plan. That’s not to say that there’s a lack of material! It’s overwhelming when you begin to look at the content available for making disciples. What is lacking is a simple, biblical, reproducible framework for how disciples will make disciples at Broadview Baptist Church.
Ultimately, it is my responsibility as your pastor to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. That means it’s my responsibility to give you a workable plan so that you can get started being a disciple who makes disciples. These articles should be helpful towards those ends. At the very least, it will inform you about the disciple making process at our church. The majority of Broadview’s disciple-making plan revolves around six “my disciple” statements given to us by Jesus (Luke 14:26, 27, 33; John 8:31; John 13:35; John 15:8.)
I don’t see any reason to improve upon our Lord’s definition of discipleship.
What you’ll discover in the following articles is how we make sense of those passages and how we help disciples of Jesus in our own church fellowship take their “next step” on the discipleship journey.