On any given Sunday you have a broad range of people coming for services. You have saved and unsaved individuals. Among the saved there are new believers, untaught believers, mediocre believers, and maturing believers. In most churches there is no means to distinguish between these levels of spiritual growth. Therefore, we believe pastors and elders HERE have the more difficult task in ministering to such ones.
While the biblical role of the church is to minister to the believer, nurturing growth and equipping for service, much of that goes unheeded depending on the understanding of each individual. Thus the necessity of the church putting solid biblical foundations in place and making discipleship a priority for every believer.
Perhaps you are wondering how this works in our efforts of church planting among indigenous peoples. Let me explain: As mentioned earlier, we unpack the entire story of God, start to finish. Once we have believing individuals we focus on discipleship and rooting them in Christ. A church is born. But what about those who come along later –ones who haven’t been taught as the others? This is where the distinguishing factor comes in.
From among the first group of believers we appoint and equip spiritually qualified individuals who will teach such ones just as the original group was taught the foundational truths of Who God Is, and then moving through the scriptures from creation to the resurrection. Next is the discipleship of the believing ones. This cycle is repeated over and over as we equip and nurture the church. Evangelism and discipleship is an integral part of church growth. Again, not growth by number but by spiritual maturity.
Interestingly, these believers have a strong sense of urgency in getting the gospel to loved ones and clans living beyond their territories, as well as reaching across barriers to other language groups. It is in context of seeing every tribe, people and language reached with the gospel that Joyce and I serve as mission mobilizers. If we can ignite compassion for lost people in the hearts of believers here, then we believe God will raise up those who will join in reaching those waiting to hear the gospel there.