Discipleship is Critical
Great Commission: Mat 28:19-20 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (niv)
Jesus commanded his followers to share the gospel with all nations. This verse implies that evangelism is a key responsibility of the followers of Christ (the church). However to share the Gospel we must be discipled (taught). We call this process discipleship. Realizing discipleship is critical to the development of a Christian to church health is much like the growth and development of a human is critical to physical health.
Initially a newborn can do nothing for themselves. Everything must be done for them, fed, diapers changed, dressed, etc. As they grow their food is changed from liquid to solids, they are taught how to dress, exercise, etc. We call this maturity.
The Bible compares Christian immaturity to physical immaturity in a number of places.
1Co 3:2 I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.
Heb 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil
Just as a human cannot function properly with out maturity, neither can a follower of Christ. It is the church’s responsibility to “make disciples”. A disciple is not a professor, but a processor, a hearer and doer of the Word.
Jas 1:22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
A critical element of making disciples is teaching the whole Gospel of Mat 28:19-20 above which includes “teaching them to obey”, which is an element of maturity.
A “planned, progressive” Bible Study program in the local church is critical to Spiritual health and vitality in a church. Without it the local congregation will die a slow and painful death.