As I write this post, I’m sitting on the Memorial Stadium parking lot in Harrisonville watching my son’s first day of soccer camp in the muggy Missouri heat of summer. As I watch him go from drill to drill, my heart yearns for his success. It is not because he is doing anything he has not done before, but because I know it means so much to him to advance to the next level of his “soccer career”. (I know, speaking to children as though they have a career in soccer never has set well with me, but that is the common vernacular among the competitive soccer clubs.)
When you are a freshman in high school, you just want to keep up, fit in and make sure you are needed, wanted or at least useful as a player. I can still remember the emotions of being inter-mixed in the varsity football practices in high school. Young men need a challenge, a battle to fight, a place to prove they earned a place on the team. More than that, like all of us, they simply want to feel included.
With that comes the fear of failure. Facing our failure is the key to victory. So many never even attempt to go to the next level of proficiency in their relationship with Christ, career, life, whatever it is, because fear paralyzes them. The fear of meeting new people, failing at relationships or core competencies is enough to sideline many before they even start. Those who count themselves as mature Christians, upper classmen of sorts, should do our best to ingratiate and acclimate guests and new members to our services and events.
Heartland Baptist Fellowship exists to equip the saints of God in the word of God to accomplish the mission of God in the power of God for the glory of God by the grace of God. Our success is found in God! We have a Biblical mandate and approach to ensure born-again Christians are exposed to and entrusted with the fundamentals of the faith through the ministry of discipleship past on through the centuries from Jesus himself.
Our mandate is the same as those first apostles Jesus commanded in Matthew 28:19-20. Just as in any other aspect of life, our willingness to engage is what will dictate our level of growth. Discipleship at HBF is much more than a 16-lesson series of Bible studies, it’s a process by which we learn and practice the fundamentals of the faith delivered to us by our Lord Jesus Christ. We may start with 16 lessons, but it grows well beyond to those who are faithful with basic “fundamental” truths of scripture.
Learning fundamental information is important, but not as important as putting basic scriptural truth into practice. Experience in ministry to others gives us an opportunity to “prove all things” (1 Thes 5:21). Testing what we have learned is good in when opposed by the world, the flesh and the devil is very important and part of the discipleship process. What good is it to learn the rules if you don’t get to play the game. Hold fast to the fundamentals because you will find they are effective at every level of spiritual warfare. We will never go to the next level in your walk with Christ Jesus if we forsake the basic precepts and practice of God’s word.
At Heartland Baptist Fellowship, we have a clear and simple core discipleship path. Discipleship One, Discipleship Two and Heartland Bible Institute are the three tiers of training we offer to instill, workout and prepare you in the learning, applying and instructing others in the fundamentals of God’s word at any level of consecration you desire. That training along with active participation in real spiritual battles that engage and grow you in the way and will of Christ place you in a position to maximize the investment of Christ in your soul. Discipleship develops your relationship with God, His people and the world he came to save. You can watch church on the internet or TV, but it will not replace joining the team (local New Testament church) and engaging the world with God’s love.
If you would like to dip your toe in the discipleship waters and sign up for our Discipleship One course, please touch this link and it will take you to our online application. You don’t have to be a member of HBF to begin discipleship, but you do need a desire to follow Christ, learning and doing what he has said. Some reading this need to set aside time this fall to enroll in our Discipleship 2 Course. It is open to all who have completed Discipleship One and have a desire to learn God’s word so you can do the work of ministry.
Still yet, some of you may need to count the cost of entering our four-year Bible Institute (Heartland Bible Institute). This will be our ninth year of training faithful men and women to be thoroughly furnished unto all good works. If you are actively involved in ministry, have discipled or are discipling others and completed discipleship two, you are eligible to enroll in Heartland Bible Institute. See your Pastor for more information and go to our website and register online.
I hope my son has a good experience at soccer camp, growing in skill and proficiency. Like discipleship, that will not occur if the basics are not engrained to the place they become natural. That is the goal of discipleship, to aid the Spirit of God conform our natural reactions to supernatural responses that bring honor and glory to our Lord Jesus Christ.
It is much more than indoctrination, it is transformation to the very image of Christ. All Christians should desire to act as Christ as our first proclivity. Though we all fail daily, we do not fear and we do not quit, for as long as God has given us breath, he can use us for his honor and glory.
1 Thessalonians 5:24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.