Growing Worshiping Disciples on Mission for Christ

What is a Disciple anyway? Can you define one?

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Awestruck Family

In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers,

you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. 

You need milk, not solid food!

Hebrews 5:12, NIV

A Christian disciple is one whose main goal is to be continually transformed by Christ through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit every day. Are the participants on your worship team being transformed into disciples? Are the worshipers in your church true disciples? How can you tell?

In the book The Emotionally Healthy Church, authors Pete Scazzero and Warren Bird identify the levels of Christian spiritual maturity in terms of human emotional development from infant to adult. Here are excerpts from their descriptions of the levels of emotional maturity:

  • Emotional Infant=I am perceived as self-centered. I look for others to take care of me more than I look to take care of them. I am consistently driven by a need for instant gratification. I am unaware how my behavior is affecting others.
  • Emotional Child=When life is going my way and I am receiving all the things I want and need, I am content and seem emotionally well-adjusted. When I don’t get my way, I often complain, throw a temper tantrum, withdraw, manipulate, etc. I interpret disagreements as a personal offense.
  • Emotional Adolescent=I know the right ways I should behave, but I can feel threatened when I am offered constructive criticism. I subconsciously keep records on the love I give out, so I can ask for something in return later. I am primarily committed to self-survival so I have trouble hearing another person’s needs.
  • Emotional Adult=I respect and love others without having to change them. I take responsibility for my own thoughts and actions. I am able to accurately assess my limits and discuss them with others. I am deeply convinced that I am absolutely loved by Christ, so I have nothing to prove. In tune with my own emotions, I can meet others at their place of need and concern.

    The words quoted above from Hebrews 5:12 certainly support emotional health as a sign of spiritual maturity. So where are your worship ministry participants in this progression toward spiritual and emotional maturity? As one minister of discipleship used to tell me, “Most of our church members don’t have 40 years of Christian teaching under their belt, instead they’ve only had one year of Christian teaching 40 times!”

So I ask you, what are you doing in your church and worship ministry to grow disciples? The answers I usually hear are: “We have a great worship service and some Bible study groups,” or “We have something going on every night of the week for our members,” or “I make sure to include a devotional in our weekly rehearsal.” But are we growing disciples? Presenting endless studies that are information-driven are not working. Our declining statistics and increasing incidence of church conflict prove that fact. Contemporary cell group churches often have significantly less than half of their worship service attendance involved in small groups. And traditional churches have lots of activity, but very little measurable discipleship to show for it. We must fall before our holy God and offer completely surrendered lives. Then we must rise to the mission of making disciples.

Who are you discipling?  Make a list.  Is there anybody on YOUR list?  — Mark Powers

(Scazzero and Bird, The Emotionally Healthy Church, 66.)

NOTE: For a simple plan to rapidly reproduce disciples e-mail markpowers@scbaptist.org and request a Discipleship TRIO Guidebook!


Author: Mark Powers

Worship Pastor, Riverland Hills Baptist Church, Columbia SC - April 1, 2018 to present Former Director, Worship and Music, South Carolina Baptist Convention, Columbia SC: 2008 - 2018 Author - "GOING FULL CIRCLE: Worship that Moves Us to Discipleship and Missions" - www.GoingFullCircle.org (Resource Publications, Wipf & Stock, Eugene OR, 2013) President, www.WorshipWise.com - Empowering YOU for Powerful Worship Leading! Presenter/Speaker on the MusicArts Mission Movement (M3). To contact MP about presenting or speaking for your conference or training event, e-mail mark@riverlandhills.org or call 803-640-9037. I would love to come and share how your worship ministries can join God on mission in your community!

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