C&CW Ep. 9 - Activity ≠ Maturity, pt. 2: How does the church make disciples?



Coffee & Christian Worldview
Episode 9

Show Notes:

How does the church make disciples, not just busy people?

More attention to the expositional preaching of the word, for a balanced diet.

A historical example:
Convinced that the core of the Kirk should be worship, prayer and the preaching of the Word, [William Still] sought the simplification of church structures. He passionately believed that the congregation should worship as a family, and deplored the way in which well-intentioned small groups in churches often declined into mere social clubs. Many traditional activities therefore ceased in Gilcomston – the Women's Guild, Boys’ Brigade, Youth Fellowship, even the Sunday School for those over seven. Such a concentration on the basics of church life was attractive to many.
—F. Lyall, Introduction to The Work of the Pastor by William Still.

More of the basics: the ordinary means of grace.

God gave us the command to make disciples, and he gave us the tools to do it.

Not our innovations, not our creativity.

Christ is King over the church, not us, and he tells us how to make disciples.

Pastors could ask their most active congregants to simply articulate the Gospel.
Evaluate: are the people growing in knowledge and holiness?
Adjust accordingly.

Local churches should cut out all the extra activities that don't accomplish spiritual growth.

Capitalize on what is commanded for corporate worship on the Lord's Day—reading and preaching, sacraments, prayer.

So many activities are distractions from growing in character.

If you find immaturity despite all the activity, all the volunteerism, then you need to start over from the ground up.

The church could do nothing but worship and still be church.

The Bible doesn't define church by the 101 activities that churches wish they had.
"All they do is worship." That's the most important thing, and it is obedience.

Christ commanded that disciples be made, and we see how the Apostles understood that command because we see what they do in Acts—teaching, the fellowship, breaking of bread, and the prayers (Acts 2:42).

Ligon Duncan: "the test of the catacombs." If the 1st century persecuted church gathering in the catacombs could not do a certain thing, then that thing is not essential.

Nothing else can make up for the lack of corporate worship.

Pastoral visitation. Richard Baxter realized that one visitation could accomplish more than a decade of sermons.

We begin with those interested.
You don't have to be a "leader." All believers should read the Bible and talk about it.

Only jealous pastors will have a problem with that.

Real shepherds will be thankful that members are fellowshiping on their own.

Maximize the preaching of the Word. And not just the sermon. The sermon cannot sustain everything; worship is not designed that way (it's not just a preaching service).

Similarly, more than jsut preaching is needed to make disciples.
If the pastor is not preaching, he's failing as a pastor. Leave that church and find one that has true preaching, if nothing else.

BUT, preaching is not enough. Expand the ministry of the Word. Initiate congregational Sunday school (lectures), home visitation, and catechizing of covenant children.
The church thrived for 1800 years without age-segregated programs (children's "church", youth group). It was accomplished through catechesis.

The preaching and teaching of the Word is primary. That is how disciples are made and matured. If a church doesn't have that, they haven't even started with step one.

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