Deeper in Faith
by Tim Riggs
“All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you:
and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:18-20).
We refer to these familiar words of Jesus as the Great Commission—the great and abiding mission of the Church, which still applies to us in the 21st century. These verses can be summed up in two words: make disciples. Though times and methods change, the message and mission for both individual Christians and the Church remains the same…go and make disciples.
Easton’s Bible Dictionary defines disciple as a student or a person who believes Christ’s doctrine, rests on Christ’s sacrifice, and follows Christ’s example. Discipleship starts with reaching people for Christ and continues as we train them in the Christian life, teaching them to be like Jesus in everything. We must teach (and model) dedication, commitment, and service to the Savior through the local church.
Discipleship classes are crucial in this process. At Bay City, we take a new convert through a seven-lesson course called Mastering the Basics. Mobile is a hotbed for high school and college football (Roll Tide!). In football, if a player never masters the basics of the game, he will never reach his full potential. The same is true in the Christian life; so we lay a strong foundation, emphasizing assurance of salvation, daily time with God in Word and prayer, faithful church attendance, giving, and serving the church.
In addition, we spend time outside the church with new believers: praying, serving, and eating together—just as Jesus did with His apostles. It is our goal to see new believers step from the darkness to become lights for Christ; from being helped to helping others; from being served to serving others, and from being reached to reaching others for Christ.
One lady in the Bay City church accepted Christ as Savior four years ago. She came from a family that was financially secure but spiritually lost. As a result, she grew up living a sinful lifestyle, which included having an abortion as a teenager. Through the ministry of our church, she found new life in Christ and is now a totally different person. Though her journey as a disciple of Christ has not been easy, she has been faithful. She is in church every time the doors open. She gives faithfully, and she has begun to influence others for the Lord as well.
She recently went through a class to help her overcome the emotional scars left by the abortion she underwent 20 years ago. She now counsels unmarried mothers-to-be, encouraging them to choose life rather than the tragic abortion she chose years ago.
This flourishing disciple has gone full circle, from a life of spiritual darkness to showing others the True Light and God’s love. Her story and others like it remind us time and again that our awesome God can take what the devil means for evil and bring something good out of it for His glory and the salvation of souls. That is the mission of discipleship.
About the Writer: Tim Riggs pastors Bay City Free Will Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama. Learn more about Bay City and other Home Missions churches at www.homemissions.net.