Deputation is coming to an end. We are currently 52 days away from our departure to Argentina. We have been in well over 200 churches. In these churches we have seen a lot of things. To close out deputation, I am starting a weekly blog series entitled, “My Favorite Things”. On deputation we have seen God move in many different churches. We have been in church plants, churches that are going through difficult times, churches that are thriving, churches that are attempting a resurgence, and churches that are somewhere in the midst of these situations. We’ve been in churches that had over 1,000 people in attendance and churches with two people in attendance. Regardless of the church’s state, we have seen God work. I will select some of my favorite things I have seen on deputation. I will not be mentioning specific names of churches or people, I will recount what these “favorite things” have been in a general way. Some of these posts will not be about one specific church, but may include several different churches. I hope it will be an encouragement to you.
For this post, my first “favorite thing” is discipleship. I came into church on a midweek service. I like to arrive an hour before service starts. Many times, I am the first one at the church. At this church there were already several people there. When we walked into the church, there were people sitting in several different places, in the auditorium, on a sofa in the hall, in classrooms, and I am sure in a few other places I didn’t see. The odd thing was that everyone was sitting by two’s. It was men with men and women with women. Upon further examination, I noticed that this was purposed. This church had a discipleship program with specific discipleship materials, and these people were each going through discipleship with one another. One person was teaching and the other person was learning. The person who was teaching had already been through the exact discipleship program. The person learning was taking it all in, asking questions, and discussing the topic at hand. I asked one of the church staff about it, and he told me this is something they have been doing for years. They all use the same curriculum, which was written by a member of the church. This discipleship also happened on other days as well, but the time before the midweek service seemed to be most convenient for many. It is a foundation laid on which a follower of Jesus will build.
What does this mean for a church? It means that the church is healthy. People are being discipled on a one-on-one basis and then commissioned to disciple someone else. Discipleship is a command. Jesus gave the Great Commission, and in that commission He told the church to “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20. Notice that Jesus said to “teach them whatsoever I have commanded you.” This is discipleship. Paul also encouraged Timothy to disciple others in 2 Timothy 2:2, “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also.” Paul challenged Timothy to disciple faithful men, who will in turn disciple others, and a cycle will continue forth.
I believe this is something I will not soon forget. Seeing that scene made me desire to see it in churches that will be planted in Argentina. Discipleship takes a lot of work, but it is mandated by the Bible, and the benefits that are reaped are well worth the effort and time that it takes. Seeing the act of discipleship is one of my favorite things I have seen on deputation!