Glorifying God by making disciples is our ultimate aim. By God’s grace, we will see this happen in and through our church.
A true disciple is one who follows the command of his Lord. Our Lord has made it clear what he has commanded us to do. And Jesus came and said to them, “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” (Matthew 28:18-20 ESV). Although conversion is a necessary step, our ultimate aim is not merely to make converts but rather to make disciples of Christ. A disciple is one who follows Jesus, grows in Christ-likeness, and makes other disciples. And as grace extends to more people, it will increase thanksgiving to the glory of God (2 Cor. 4:15). Therefore, God is glorified as disciples are made through our body.
How will we seek to glorify God by making disciples?
Through the Gospel
The Gospel is essentially the good news of Jesus Christ – His emptying Himself and entering our world in human form, His perfect life lived in obedience to the Father, His substitutionary death to make atonement for our sins, and His resurrection, ascension, and future return to secure our eternal place with Him in heaven. Therefore, the Gospel is a message that the Holy Spirit uses to draw people to saving faith in Christ. It is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). So we make disciples by living out and sharing this Gospel message with those who do not yet know Jesus. But again, disciples are not just converts, therefore the Gospel is also the message that helps us grow in Christ-likeness. The same manner that we received Jesus (grace), is the way we walk in him (Colossians 2:6). The Gospel is the message that unites us as a body. As we remember what Christ has done for us, we are united as we put the interest of others before our own. Finally, the Gospel is the fuel that drives us to take the life-changing message of Christ to the world. At Providence, we don’t want to rally just around good theology, worship, or expositional preaching. Jesus is the foundation. His Gospel is the message that saves, sanctifies, unites, and drives us. We will be unashamedly dedicated to it.
The Gospel forms not only individual new lives in Christ but also it forms a community in Christ. We know from scripture that the moment we become Christians, we are adopted by God and are called “children of God” (1 John 3:1). When God becomes our father through faith in Jesus Christ, then other believers also become our siblings in Christ. Community is the context that fortifies us as disciples. In authentic biblical community, disciples grow in Christlikeness. First John 1:7 tells us that when we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another. It goes on to say that if we say we do not sin, we lie and the truth is not in us (1 John 1:8). Therefore the kind of community we seek to be is one where we walk in transparency with brothers and sisters who hold us accountable and help us pursue Christ. It is in the context of community that our individual gifts are identified and employed for the building up of the body of Christ. Our health as a church grow as our members discover their gifts and use them for the building up of the body. Community is where we find examples of faithful believers who model for us what it looks like to follow Jesus daily. It is where we find comfort in trials and encouragement to continue in our walk. As we serve one another in unity, we will reflect Jesus to our surrounding community that desperately needs to know Him.
A community rooted in the Gospel will ultimately bear fruit in living on mission. When we remember that we were alienated from God, dead in sin, and without hope before Christ made us alive, we are compelled to take the message of the Gospel out to the world. Mission is the purpose that drives us as a church. Our mission once again is to make disciples for Christ. So, this is where the vision takes on a snowball effect. As we live on mission, sharing Christ through our action and words, new disciples will be made by God’s grace who then in turn will be launched out on mission. When Jesus called his first disciples he said, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” So a disciple is by definition a disciple-maker. At Providence, our goal is not to be a community where only the pastors are engaged in the work of evangelism. Our desire is to be a church where every member of our body is engaged in this mission of making disciples – in their home, workplace, neighborhood, and yes, even to the ends of the earth.