Saturday, July 21, 2012 4:15 AM

Are We Making Biblical Disciples?

Saturday, July 21, 2012 4:15 AM
Saturday, July 21, 2012 4:15 AM

In today’s modern world, Christianity has enjoyed growth in numbers in many areas, but what does that growth produce…what is the fruit?

In addressing the participants of the International Consultation on Discipleship, John Stott said that evangelicals have “experienced enormous statistical growth … without corresponding growth in discipleship.” African theologian Tokunboh Adeyemo lamented that the church “is one mile long, but only one inch deep.”

•     “Many converts to Christianity throughout the world fall away from faith.”

•     The church is “marked by a paradox of growth without depth.”

•     “Many within the church are not living lives of biblical purity, integrity and holiness.”[1]

 So, what are Christian leaders to do? To begin, declares the conference manifesto, the Great Commission is not only to evangelize but to make disciples. The document defines discipleship as “a process that takes place within accountable relationships over a period of time for the purpose of bringing believers to spiritual maturity in Christ.”

 Note three very crucial insights for evangelism that result in discipleship:

•     Evangelism is a process.

•     Evangelism takes place over a period of time.

•     Evangelism brings new believers to spiritual maturity.[2]

 To accomplish these goals, the conferees called Christians to recover the integral relationship between evangelism and discipleship, to assess rigorously existing structures, to recognize the local church as the primary community in which discipleship takes place, to affirm the vital role of mentoring, to rediscover the role of the Holy Spirit as teacher, and to call all Christians to live as “subjects in the kingdom of God.”[3]


[1] Webber, R. (2003). Ancient-future evangelism: Making your church a faith-forming community (13). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[2] Webber, R. (2003). Ancient-future evangelism: Making your church a faith-forming community (13). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[3] Webber, R. (2003). Ancient-future evangelism: Making your church a faith-forming community (14). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

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