Lights in Every Street - Christian Fellowship in Your Street
4) Training disciples and pastoring them to help them love and obey Christ - as in Col. 1:28 “We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ”. Humbly shepherd and nurture them. Systematically visit and encourage people (even if visits are just 15 minutes each). Especially help them to be able to read and apply the Bible to their lives (see the heading Discipleship in the next section).Suggestions:
a) Pray for and guide your family in the way of Christ. Model a loving and righteous life and teach them. Try to have a little time of sharing some Bible verses and prayer with them each day. Children can learn to pray for their friends and for any problem they have. Help them to be able to share Christ’s message with their friends – such as John 3:16 or 14:6 – trusting that the Holy Spirit is with them and will strengthen them. Do not let children become discouraged if they make mistakes. Let them know that they can always say “sorry” and start again with God’s help. (Deuteronomy 6:7)
b) Pray for and guide new Christians and their families – visit them for prayer and Bible study for 30-60 minutes each week, or invite them to your house. Telephone them to encourage them. You can also pray with them on the ‘phone. Help them go through this booklet. Model for them what it means to be a Christian – in praying, evangelising, righteous living, etc. Do everything in a way that can be easily copied by new believers. Discipleship includes Bible knowledge, but is primarily the example of a truly Christian life. Bible study, daily prayer and worship, evangelism, encouragement, fellowship and support of other Christians are all more effectively learnt through example. Servanthood, humility, faith, zeal for extending God’s Kingdom, love for fellow Christians and others are vital. (Ephesians 4:11-12; 2 Timothy 3:15,16). New Christians will usually not exceed what you expect of them, so set high standards. Treat them as partners helping them become independent co-workers – not dependent followers. For some helpful studies for new Christians, see Appendix 2 - Discipleship Studies.
c) Pastor more mature people and others in their personal and family lives.
i) Regularly visit and telephone members of the group and contacts, to encourage them.
ii) Maintain the purity of life of people in the group – as in Matthew 18:15-17; 1 Corinthians 5:1-6,11,13; Titus 3:10; 1 Timothy 1:20; 5:19,20.
iii) Pray and care for those with problems. Listen to God for His guidance for the sources of these problems.
iv) Help resolve any conflicts in the group – recognise the problem, pray for God’s solution, talk to each party separately and help them to meet together to listen to each other, each expressing the point of view of the other, seeking the Lord’s solution to the difficulty.
v) Be prepared for births, deaths, marriages, community functions and special dedications.
d) Start Discipleship Chains – where every Christian becomes a discipler of others teaching what they have learned to another believer or an unbeliever - whether a child, a family member, or a friend. The command to make disciples was given to every Christian so we need to equip them and expect every one to make disciples, so every Christian should be a teacher for at least one other person. New Christians learn more quickly when they know that they are responsible to pass teaching on to others.
i) The discipleship chain relationship perhaps works best where one Christian meets with two others of the same sex, for prayer, review of your Bible reading, discipleship training and mutual encouragement and holding each other accountable to make progress in the Christian life – perhaps early one morning each week. Each discipling relationship involves mutual accountability for two very important areas:
(1) putting into practice scriptural truth that is learned
(2) teaching what one has learned.
ii) When a street church starts other new street churches, the discipleship could dissolve and re-form as necessary.
iii) Do not forget young people and children – Christian parents have responsibility for their own children, but some may have parents who are not Christians.
iv) The discipleship chain develops mature believers quite quickly. A person need only be one step ahead of the person whom he or she is discipling. The discipleship chain method enables and empowers new Christians for service. It does not dominate or stifle them. Multiplication may be slow at first, but, with God’s grace, great growth is possible.
v) Suggested format of a discipleship meeting (one leading two or at most three, meeting once a week or fortnight). (The activities can be done in any order. Simplify this outline for those who are just beginning in their Christian walk.)
(1) Pray (praising God and asking for guidance and wisdom). (James 1:5)
(2) Let your trainees share about:
(a) their spiritual life – especially any progress to which they committed themselves in the previous meeting (their prayer life, attitudes, their marriage and family, their work, their problems. In whatever way is culturally appropriate, confess your sins to one another (for example, anger, jealousy, inappropriate behaviour with members of the opposite sex, addictions or pride). Confessing sins before others breaks its power, destroys hypocrisy, and enables us to live in the light of God. (James 5:16; Psalm 51:17)
(b) tasks to which they committed themselves. Listen to their report on what they have been doing, the people they are helping, and their groups’ current opportunities and needs (Mark 6:30). If you are helping a leader of a group then you need to constantly ask about the obedience and fruitfulness of the fellowship they are leading.
(3) Plan with your trainees what each one will do with their groups for the next two weeks (or for whatever time lapses before the next meeting). Ask, “What is your plan for the next week/fortnight?” Each one commits him/herself to new ministry tasks. Write specific plans with names and places, both trainer and trainee keeping a copy to review how they have done next time. (Titus 1:5)
(4) Model new skills for trainees either in the session or by going together to do ministry among the people. (Phil. 3:17) For example you could model how to conduct the Lord’s Supper, teach them a new song or help them write one, or model ways of leading that involve everyone (rather than dictating).
(5) Review together what the trainees learned from their previously assigned studies.
(a) Ask whether they have applied what they have learnt to themselves and their situation and whether they have taught others. (2 Timothy 2:2)
(i) If they are not putting the teaching into practice, then do not go on to a new topic, but lead a study and discussion on the same passage or another passage on the same topic. (If the problem persists and is a matter of disobedience to God rather than a lack of comprehension, raise the matter with the other Christians – Matthew 18:15-17).
(ii) If they have not taught someone else then determine if they did not understand the material or whether they lacked opportunity. If they have difficulty understanding, search the Scriptures together to seek insight. If someone did not have the opportunity to teach anyone else, let that person to lead you (and any others present) in a review of the previous week’s Bible lesson as part of the current session.
(b) Review their general Bible reading. What has God been teaching them? Are they putting this into practice?
(6) Assign new studies – most of which should be to support trainees’ immediate plans. (2 Tim. 3:16-17). Ideas:
(a) Lead a Bible study and discussion on a new passage.
(b) Learn a new Scripture verse(s) and review several previously learnt verses. It is valuable to memorize longer passages and Psalms.
(c) Teach a Scripture song and review the previous two songs.
(d) Assign Bible readings and short studies that trainees will do at home.
(7) Intercede for the trainees’ groups, mentioning people by name. (Col. 4:12)
(a) Review the new Scripture song and memory verse(s).
(b) Pray together, remembering church and government leaders, still unconverted individuals, unreached people groups, evangelists, needs of local believers, personal and group needs, current events, the persecuted, persecutors, etc..
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