Discipleship Strategy

A disciple is a person who has been rejoined with GOD the Father through Belief and Faith Action in JESUS the Messiah.  We reflect the image of God through identity in Jesus, and we express that identity by Loving God (Worship), Loving Others (Community with others), and Serving Like JESUS (Mission in the world). Jesus had a group of 12 men that he poured His life into so that they would take the Gospel to the world. Jesus had disciples and his process for making those disciples was simple.

At Baptist Temple, we strive to take people from a point of entry; to a point of being a mature follower of Christ. We desire the process to be in steps, “when you ‘think steps’ there is a fundamental difference in your perspective…a step is part of a series of actions that systematically take a person somewhere.” That “somewhere”, we are taking someone, is discipleship. We desire people to walk intimately with Christ, to live in community with other believers, and serve both the church and the world. We believe “Churches (should) live out the essence of disciple-making in their activities through worship, community, and mission” Brad House, in his book Community, made this statement in regards to vision, “Let vision determine the expression of community.” Therefore our vision statement: Loving God, Loving People, and Serving Like JESUS; echoes that desire and is a declaration of our discipleship process.



Loving God is the first step of the process of becoming a mature disciple. In Luke 5, Jesus calls his disciples to Himself. He meets them where they were. “He went fishing with Peter, James, and John. He went to a party at Matthew’s house. And He asked each of them to follow Him.”  Jesus has done the same to each one of us. He has called us and we have answered. We have experienced salvation to worship and to bring glory to God (1 Cor. 6:20). Our greatest joy comes from living out this created purpose. As a church, this means that we worship together, encourage one another, and strive to proclaim the greatness of Jesus to the world (1 Pet. 2:9). Our life together should be a proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ and a corporate act of worship.

Loving God starts when a non-believer comes to the saving knowledge and they believe in sacrificial death of Jesus the Messiah and His resurrection (Romans 10:9-10, 13). At this point, they have experienced new birth and now have the spiritual freedom to fall more in love with God each day. God’s presence is the beginning for the non-believer, for the prodigal that is returning home, and for the broken and bruised! “There can be no renewal, revival, or rebuilding without a vision for and an experience of the all-consuming, all-illuminating presence of God.”

Sunday Morning Corporate Worship Services provide people with an opportunity to experience the Presence of God. It is where believers can express their love through song, gratitude, giving, reading Scripture, and prayer. This is Loving God and it is at the heart of our Sunday Morning Worship Service. We desire that those who are involved in our Sunday Morning Worship Service will continue to grow in their love for God, but will not allow their discipleship to stop there. Francis Chan, in his book Crazy Love states, “As we begin to focus more on Christ (Loving God), loving Him and others becomes more natural.” At Baptist Temple, we will strongly encourage people, who are Loving God, to move to the next step in the discipleship process; Loving Others.



The second step in our discipleship process is Loving Others. After their calling, the disciples were provided with opportunities to build their faith in Him. In Luke 7, Jesus introduced them to His teachings. “They learn about having an eternal view, rejoicing, loving enemies, not judging others, and bearing spiritual fruit.” In Luke 8, the disciples observed Jesus doing ministry. They witnessed His love and compassion for people. The disciples were in community with one another and with God. Community is the key word here.

At Baptist Temple, we believe God exists in eternal and perfect community through the Trinity (Gen. 1:26, 27). The GOD the Father, GOD the Son and GOD the Holy Spirit have eternally existed in relationship with one another as ONE God in THREE persons (John 1). We are created for community in the image of our Triune God. He is a relational God who created us as relational people in His image (Gen. 1:26). This means that we should reflect the glory of God and preach the gospel through our lives together by loving one another, forgiving one another as Christ forgave us, calling one another to confession and repentance for the purpose of reconciliation, and calling one another to lives that glorify God (Heb 10:24-26, 2 Cor. 5:18).

We are created for community. “Disciple-making involves inviting people into a larger community of faith.” We desire for those that are already Loving God in our worship services, to connect with other believers. “Weekend services are not designed to connect people to others very well. Like most churches, people sit facing forward and have little interaction with one another.” In our worship services, there is some interaction with other believers, but the focus is on God. After all, the focus of the Loving God step is just that; loving God.

The best place for people to make real and lasting connections is in a small group. David Platt states in his book Radical, “Being a part of a community of faith involves being exposed to the life of Christ in others.” We believe that small groups are the best environment for people to love one another in biblical community. In the book 7 Practices of Effective Ministry, the authors state, “Discipleship happens most naturally in the context of meaningful relationships.” Currently at Baptist Temple; most of our small groups happen during the Sunday School hour, but some are beginning to form on Sunday Nights and during other days of the week.

These groups are designed to connect people with each other. By being part of Small Group, people will develop meaningful relationships...share life’s challenges and joys...give and receive help in difficult times... they will connect with couples, singles, men or women in their stage of life,… and will find ways to serve our neighborhoods for the Glory of Christ. All of our Small Groups focused on the Mission of the Gospel, which is what all-mature disciples should be focused on. At Baptist Temple, we constantly encourage people to get plugged into one of our Small Groups so that the discipleship process will continue in the individual.



We have talked about Loving God and Loving Others, but the discipleship process at Baptist Temple does not stop there. After Jesus called and built the disciples up into a community, Jesus then gave them ministry. “All he wanted was a few men who would think as he did, love as he did, see as he did, teach as he did, and serve as he did. All he needed was to revolutionize the hearts of a few, and they would impact the world.” He gave them opportunities to serve!

In Luke 9, Jesus sends out the disciples to do the work of ministry in the surrounding countryside. The disciples went out and served and then after their service, the disciples came back for debriefing time with Jesus. Some ministries they did well and others they were not ready for. Jesus continued to teach them, correct them, and turn them loose to do more ministries. “These guys were the small group responsible for carrying on everything Jesus had begun.” This is why it was so important for them to serving those around them; Serving The World.

We believe God sent His son Jesus into human history to reconcile or to rejoin Himself to us (John 1:14). God is in the business of gathering more worshipers to Himself (John 4) He invites us to be a part of that business; we are missionaries, created in the image of a sent and sending God. As his disciples, our mission is to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus so that more people will come to a saving faith through Jesus and give glory to God (1 Peter 2:12). We are called to live our lives intentionally and mission-ally, loving one another, and engaging with and loving our neighbors. We do this because we are commanded to (Matt 28:19, Luke 10:27, Jer. 29:5 ) and so that, hopefully, our neighbors will see the glory of God lived out in our lives, stirring their hearts to answer God’s call for their own salvation (2 Peter 3:9).

In efforts to Serve Like JESUS, we strive to further connect people in Ministry efforts to engage them in the ministry of the Church. Ministry can be activities directed at building up our church, our neighborhoods in Jackson County, our State, our Nation, and to our World. The point is, we at Baptist Temple want to “GO”, as the Great Commission says. “Disciple-making involves going. It involves intentionally taking the gospel to people where they live, work, and play” We want everyone at our church to have a Missional Mindset! We understand that “we are not here by accident but sent by God. The Missionary Mentality means that (our) church understands the community (or neighborhoods of Jackson County) and will minister in appropriate ways to reach local people with the gospel.” We believe if this is our local goal, then this will help us with our global vision as well. Ed Stetzer and Thom Rainer say in their book, Transformational Church, “A church operating as a missionary in its local community is more likely to see the need for active participation in the global mission of God as well.” That is what Serving Like JESUS is all about.


Jesus called his disciples to Love God; He built them into a community together to Love Others; and He sent is disciples out to Serve Like HE did. Jesus was strategically and sequentially placing his disciples in positions to move to greater levels of commitment and growth. “Making disciples by going, baptizing, and teaching people the Word of Christ and then enabling them to do the same thing in other people’s lives--this is the plan God has for each of us to impact nations for the glory of Christ.” His discipleship process was simple; it had movement! We have built the Discipleship Ministry on that foundation— to be disciples and to make disciples. People at Baptist Temple who attend worship services (Loving God) are encouraged to move to a small group (Loving Others) where they will be challenged to serve in ministry efforts designed to impact our area and the world (Serving Like JESUS). This is our process of making disciples!  Come and join us!