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8 Categories of Discipleship

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1. Being a Disciple

1.Being a Disciple includes personal holiness, living a life pleasing to God, abiding in Christ, developing godly character, demonstrating the fruit of the Spirit, and using spiritual gifts to edify others. Faithful disciples encourage others to be and make more faithful disciples and they encourage fellow disciples to gather in local churches that also make disciples.

“Disciples are followers of Jesus. They have turned from their sin and trusted in Jesus as their Savior. They have died to themselves and surrendered their lives to Him as Lord. Christ now lives in them, transforming everything about them from the inside out. . . . The disciple has a transformed heart. [They] are spiritually regenerate—they have been forgiven of their sin and they are now indwelt by God’s Spirit. . . . [They have] transformed affections. Disciples are deeply satisfied—they desire what Jesus desires. They also have a transformed will. Disciples are humbly obedient—they do what Jesus commands.” IMB Terms and Definitions

2. Spiritual Disciplines

2.Spiritual Disciplines help us focus upward, outward and inward and include prayer; bible reading and study; confession of sins to one another; regular repentance; Scripture memory and meditation on the Word; regular gatherings with other believers; fasting; service; generosity; acts of kindness or mercy; and all kinds of outreach.

“Transformed Affections: Disciples grow to participate in spiritual disciplines not out of a sense of duty, but out of a sense of delight: enjoying the exaltation of God in worship, craving communion with God in prayer, hungering for God’s Word more than daily food, confessing sins with grateful contrition, and loving God’s glory more than their own lives.” IMB Terms and Definitions

3. Healthy Relationships

3.Healthy Relationships include living wise, loving, and godly lives in our family, church, work, and world. The “one another” passages in the New Testament instructs us in how to relate to others is a way that pleases God.

“A Disciple has Transformed Relationships: Disciples are sacrificially loving—they serve as Jesus serves.” IMB Terms and Definitions

4. Making Disciples

4. Making Disciples includes  a. being a faithful disciple oneself who also practices evangelism (announcing with word the good news of the gospel) b. discipleship (intentionally seeking the spiritual good of another); c. modeling, teaching, training, loving and listening and d. encouraging disciples to make more disciples.

“The Disciple has a Transformed Purpose: Disciples are missionally engaged—they make disciples who make disciples of all nations.” “Disciple making is the Christ-commanded, Spirit-empowered duty of every disciple of Jesus to evangelize unbelievers, baptize believers, teach them the Word of Christ, and train them to obey Christ as members of His church who make disciples on mission to all nations.” IMB Terms and Definitions

“Evangelism is proclamation of the gospel. In order to be biblical evangelism, the full message of the holiness and love of God, the sinfulness of every human being, the atoning sacrifice and victorious resurrection of Jesus for our sins, and the necessity of repentance and faith, must be presented.” IMB Terms and Definitions

5. Teaching/Explaining the Word Simply

5.Teaching/Explaining the Word Simply includes understanding and explaining the Big Story and key teachings of each New Testament book; knowing which books say what; and knowing how to use them in disciple-making that includes a clear, simple approach that emphasizes transformation as well as information. Faithfully explaining God’s Word has the goal to make plain what written words of a Scriptural passage or text originally meant, how they fit into the context of  all Scripture and how those words might apply to the hearers.

6. The Local Church’s Role

6. The local church’s role in being and making disciples includes understanding what makes a healthy church, how simple church can be healthy, and what Scripture says about the life, practice and order of gospel churches in every context.

10 guidelines for church planting:

  1. A church is intentional about being a church. The members think of themselves as a church and they are committed to one another and to God (“associated by covenant”) in pursuing all that Scripture requires of a church.
  2. A church has an identifiable membership of baptized believers in Jesus Christ.
  3. A church practices the baptism of believers only by immersing them in water.
  4. A church observes the Lord’s Supper on a regular basis.
  5. Under the authority of the local church and its leadership, members may be assigned to carry out the ordinances.
  6. A church submits to the inerrant word of God as the ultimate authority for all they believe and do.
  7. A church meets regularly for worship, prayer, the study of God’s Word, and fellowship. Members of the church minister to one another’s needs, hold each other accountable, and exercise church discipline as needed. They encourage one another and build each other up in holiness, maturity in Christ, and love.
  8. A church embraces their responsibility to fulfill the Great Commission, both locally and globally, from the beginning of their existence.
  9. A church is autonomous and self-governing under the Lordship of Jesus Christ and the authority of His Word.
  10. A church has identifiable leaders, who are scrutinized and set apart according to the qualifications set forth in Scripture. They recognize two biblical offices: pastors/elders/overseers (which are synonymous terms in Scripture) and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor/elder/overseer is limited to men as qualified by Scripture. IMB Terms and Definitions
7. Basic Doctrine

7. Basic Doctrine includes loving God with our minds as we consider with joy the attributes of God, understanding the person and work of Christ and the ministry of the Holy Spirit and all that Scripture says about important topics. The Baptist Faith and Message is a summary of basic doctrines embraced by the IMB.

“Transformed Mind: Disciples are biblically grounded—they believe what Jesus says.” IMB Terms and Definitions

8. All Peoples

8. All Peoples means having an eye for the nations and aiming at being and making disciples among all peoples. It means keeping constantly in mind God’s plan for all peoples, with the willingness to build bridges and cross barriers in order to show and tell the gospel to those who have little or no access to faithful gospel witnesses or who have little access to Scripture in an understandable language or form.

“The call to salvation includes a call to mission, for every person who responds to God’s call as a disciple of Jesus receives Christ’s command to make disciples of Jesus.” IMB Terms and Definitions