Pastor’s Corner: What Is a Disciple?

Pastor Glenn DeSilva

In this Pastor’s Corner, I would like to continue the subject matter from last week’s sermon, “What is a Disciple?” The answer to that question was answered last Sabbath from the Bible. A disciple is: 1. a believer, 2. a follower, 3. a learner, 4. a witness, 5. is baptized, 6. is a reproducer. The Master’s plan for making disciples is a biblical process that involves both the head and the heart. Sadly, many believers in Christ will settle for a superficial relationship with Christ instead of seeking the ultimate relational status of being “in Christ” or, more simply put, “having Jesus in us.” Jesus magnifies this truth in John 15 with the analogy of the vine and the branches. Once again, as Christians, we are both helpless and hopeless without the abiding presence of Christ.

Do you know that most people will come to a relationship with Christ through a network of family and friends? Win and Charles Arn, in their book, The Master’s Plan for Making Disciples, state that 75-90% of people will come to Christ through the influence and relationship with a friend or relative. The early disciples were cousins Andrew, Peter, James, and John. The demonic of Mark 5 was set free and healed of evil spirits. He begged Jesus if he could follow Him in ministry, but Jesus sent him home to reach his family and friends with the gospel. As great as we may think our church programs are (Sabbath School, Evangelistic Series, Departmental Ministry Programming), they result in less than 10% of people connecting and becoming disciples of Jesus in the context of a local church. Very often, we are willing to spend thousands of dollars to clear our consciences of the call of Christ to “make disciples” by adding more programming. Very often, our best efforts and programming results produce good feelings among ourselves that we have done the work of Christ, but our results bear little to no fruit.

Making disciples for Jesus is our mandate and mission. The work of the church is to train, teach, and equip modern-day disciples to be effective witnesses in the neighborhoods where we live, the schools that we attend, and places that we work and regularly visit. People will not share what they do not believe and truly value. The other night, everyone in my community became witnesses to the fact that gas was going up seventeen cents per liter at midnight. Neighbors and co-workers started to tell everyone in their orbit of friendship and influence (witnesses), you better fill up tonight! The good news of salvation in Jesus that we are privileged to know and embrace is worth far more than an extra few cents on a liter of gas. Our Youth, Young Adult, and Adult Sabbath School classes have a mission to make “one new” disciple in 2024. This is the mission and goal of the Willowdale Seventh-day Adventist Church. I believe if Sabbath School is to come “Alive” then we should be in the business of making friends for Jesus by loving, caring, and mingling with people.

Next month (May 5th, 18th, and 25th), the pastoral staff will introduce EQUIP, a preaching series on discovering and using our spiritual gift for the benefit of our local church community and God’s glory. In June, following the Ontario Conference Camp meeting, the pastoral staff will have a preaching series on the Old Testament book of Jonah. Jonah is a prophet who attempts to not use his spiritual gift, run away from God, the call to serve, and make disciples. My final sentence is an appeal. Will you embrace the call that Jesus has given to His followers to “make disciples?”

Pastor Glenn DeSilva

P.S My new Pastors Class has ten members who are studying and preparing for baptism, Praise the Lord!


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