Since I came to Cypress Lake Baptist Church last September we've been working hard to determine the most important areas that needed to be adjusted, changed, shut down, or started up in order to fulfill our mission statement: Cypress Lake Baptist Church exists, by the grace of God, to make disciples of all nations, through treasuring Christ above all things, for the glory of God at all times. We have made some small changes, and I've written up a lot that will hopefully help us as we continue to move forward.
With that being said, there have been two areas I have hit extremely hard since I arrived. If we are going to make disciples of all nations then we are going to have to learn what it means to live as children of God who've been called to be faithful witnesses where we live and, as He allows, to the ends of the earth. I want to see our church devoted to evangelism and missions. With that being said, I do not simply want to be a church who just leads people to pray a prayer or something else like that. Rather, the other area I've pushed is the need to spend time discipling others. After all, the Bibles seems to be pretty clear on the need to make disciples (I constantly say we want to see people become devoted followers of Jesus).
I have recently thought of a way to offer some beneficial ways for new believers (as we commit to evangelism I truly hope we see many from Fort Myers and SWFL repent of their sins and trust in Christ) to grow in some basic disciplines and knowledge of what it means to follow Christ and how the church is vital in that walk. I've broken this down into two parts or phases. Here are my initial thoughts. If you have any suggestions, I warmly welcome them.
Phase 1: A 4 Week New Believer's Class
Week 1: Focus on the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want to make sure our people know what they believe and why they believe it.
Weeks 2-3: Focus on some basic disciplines to help them grow in Christ. Examples would be Scripture reading, prayer, church involvement, and evangelism.
Week 4: Focus on the church ordinances (Baptism and the Lord's Supper)
Phase 2: Follow Up with a More Mature Believer
My hope is that I would not be the one always working with new believers. It's not that I don't want to, but it seems better and healthier to have more of our people discipling others. Therefore, once the class is complete I would encourage all who are truly pursuing Christ to get with a present member and walk through a time together where they meet regularly. Right now I'm thinking it would be best to have them work through The Walk: Steps for New and Renewed Followers of Christ by Stephen Smallman.