Thursday, February 5, 2015

It's Time to Grow Up! (Part 1 of 6)

A little over a year ago, I began reading several blogs. The motivation for me to do so was that I began to realize that one of the greatest deficiencies our churches face right now is discipleship. We have churches FULL of immature believers. It's really not entirely their fault. When a baby is born, he or she MUST be fed by someone who is mature, someone who is "grown up".  There's a reason why new Christians are called "babes in Christ" (1 Corinthians 3, KJV). They are newly born into the spiritual life and need to be fed beginning with basic spiritual concepts. No one starts off with a deep understanding of God and Scripture. So, it takes those who are more mature to lead them. Many believers have been in church for years and have never been fed or equipped.

My problem is that I am not an "original idea" kind of guy. I need some starting points, and then I can adapt and create from there. There are others that God has gifted much more than I with an enterprising spirit. So I depend on their resources to get me started. It wasn't long after I began to look that I found a blog fully devoted to discipleship. The blog is authored by Dr. Robby Gallaty, pastor of Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN and is called Replicate Ministries.

Shortly after subscribing to his blog, an invitation was sent to all his subscribers to apply for the opportunity to be part of his book launching team. He was about to release a book that specifically walks believers through the process of making disciples.  I quickly applied because this was exactly what I was looking for.

I was blessed to be selected among many others. I received a copy of the book and read through it and upon finishing I thought, "That's it?! That's easy!"  I was privileged to meet Dr. Gallaty last March at a conference and shared my initial response with him to which he exploded with laughter and told me, "That's exactly what I was going for!"

So, I am going to begin a six week series today, summarizing parts of the book that he wrote called Growing Up: How To Be A Disciple Who Makes Disciples which will culminate shortly after with my review on his second book called Firmly Planted. My hope is not that you will gain any insight from me, but that you will buy the book and use it to grow yourself and others. I receive absolutely no compensation for this. I am personally using it to disciple a young man. I am watching him grow and learn and it's exciting. I want you to get excited too.

In the introduction Dr. Gallaty explains his motivation for writing the book and then proceeds to explain the importance and purpose of discipleship in addition to outlining the content of the book.  We will view the content in the coming weeks.  So for today, let me briefly share his motivation for the book and the purpose of discipleship.

First, Dr. Gallaty explains that the book was written as a result of the often asked question: "Now that I know discipleship is important, how do I get started." As I mentioned above, the discipleship process is not complicated, most people just don't know where to begin. Dr. Gallaty states, "I've come to realize that when people don't know what to do, they don't do anything."  This is where I was. I knew that discipleship is important, but I had no clue where or how to begin.  Growing Up outlines this process. It's not a cookie-cutter approach. It simply lays a foundation that you can eventually build upon apart from the book.

Dr. Gallaty also explains that the pattern he uses in this book is the same pattern that Christ used with His 12 closest disciples. He says, "He formed and personally led the first D-Group - and it worked. The men who emerged from that group took the gospel to the world, and ultimately, the laid down their lives for Christ." What better pattern can you follow than the one set by Christ Himself?!

Second, Dr. Gallaty explains several purposes of a D-Group:

Finally, in order to achieve the goals above, total commitment is required.  The book includes a disciple-making covenant for the members of the group to sign.  This kind of commitment is feared by many. We live in a culture of loose commitments. However, we must give our utmost commitment to anything that is valuable and this relationship with Christ is the most valuable "thing" on earth. It is the only thing that will remain when this world ends. So it is important to set the expectations at the beginning and let those who may be uncommitted and those who may become a distraction have an opportunity to bow out gracefully. Living for Christ is an all-in commitment, you don't want to skimp on it.

I hope you will stick with me for the next five weeks as we look at more highlights of Dr. Gallaty's disciple-making plan as outlined in his book Growing Up. I started walking through this with a young man this year and he is excited and growing and hungering for more each week.  However, as you will discover when you read this book, it is not recommended for one-on-one discipleship. I wouldn't be doing it this way, but the others that were invited were either not willing or not able to make the commitment so we ended up with the two of us.  I am excited to see what God will do with the life of this one young man. He is already praying about who we should invite to our next two D-Groups which he and I will begin when he gets to the point that he is ready to lead a group on his own.

By the don't have to wait for the next five weeks before ordering your copy and getting started. Click here and order now and start your disciple-making journey.

For God's Glory,

Chris S. Sweet

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