Ministries

Discipleship

Discipleship isn’t just one among many ministries at St. Paul’s. It embraces everything we do and who we are as followers of Christ. To be a “disciple” (Greek, mathetes) means to be a student who is engaged in a process of learning or apprenticeship that causes the pupil to become like the master they follow (cf. Luke 6:40). This is the goal of our discipleship ministry—to be so thoroughly immersed in Christ that we are increasingly conformed to his image and likeness, both as individuals and as a community.

In the beginning, God created human beings in his image and likeness and called them to fill all things with his glory as his royal representatives (Genesis 1:26-28). He placed Adam and Eve in a garden and called them to expand the boundaries of Eden to the ends of the earth. And in the end, after his death and resurrection, Jesus promised to be with us as we make disciples of all nations, even “to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20). The demands of Christian discipleship are daunting. But the good news is that we are not alone.

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Core Values

Discipleship at St. Paul’s is characterized by:

  • Biblical and theologically Reformed instruction.
  • Practical teaching that equips the saints for every good work.
  • A breadth of options to nurture Christians at every stage of life.
  • A commitment to move all believers toward maturity in Christ.

Adult Education Classes

Sunday school has always been an important part of St. Paul’s discipleship ministry ever since our church was planted in 1991. Although adult Sunday School classes are disappearing in many churches today, these classes continue to be an important way in which we seek to fulfill Jesus’ command to make disciples, “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19). There’s no way to teach people to obey everything that Jesus commands in one half hour sermon per week! Many other creative contexts, forums and opportunities—including Sunday school—are needed. Accordingly, each Sunday morning, we typically offer three different kinds of adult education classes from which people can choose:

  • Bible Classes are focused on particular books of the Bible (like Isaiah or Romans) or biblical genres (like poetry or parables). These classes are not only intended to promote biblical literacy—they are ultimately meant to help us see how the grace and glory of Jesus Christ, which is present on every page of Scripture, transforms our lives.
  • Theology Classes are focused on doctrinal topics like the Trinity, Creation, Sin, and Salvation. These classes are not only intended to promote theological accuracy, but are meant to move us to praise and worship as we behold God’s glory, which is the utmost end of all good theology.
  • Christian Life Classes are focused on practical topics (like marriage, technology, parenting, suffering, calling, and sexuality) and spiritual disciplines (like prayer, hospitality, and evangelism). These classes are not only intended to prepare us for good works in every dimension of life but are also intended to create forums for fellowship and meaningful discussion with other believers as we seek to stay on mission and spur one another on to love and good deeds.

Current Adult Education Class Descriptions

We have resumed an adult Sunday School class after a long COVID-19 shutdown. We are offering just one class for now: The Westminster Confession of Faith Survey. We welcome you to join us on Sunday morning in person in the Fellowship Hall or to join us online through our livestream. A link to the livestream will be sent out each week. The WCF Survey will run through Thanksgiving. An Advent series will begin on November 29.

Discipleship Opportunities

There are many opportunities to be discipled and to disciple others at St. Paul’s. Many of these opportunities can be found in the context of our Community ministry because discipleship isn’t only taught in the classroom, it’s also caught in community. If you have questions about discipleship, feel free to reach out to Pastor Dan Thompson, who leads our discipleship and community ministries.

What does it mean to make disciples?

To make disciples is to (1) meet people where they are, (2) mentor them in the gospel, and (3) model the ways of Christ before them so they become (4) mature enough to (5) multiply and make disciples themselves.

  • Meet. We can’t make disciples without meeting people where they are. This is what Jesus did, beginning with his incarnation. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (John 1:14). Jesus met his disciples where they lived and worked, calling ordinary fisherman to follow him and eating with sinners and tax collectors (Matthew 9:9-13; Mark 1:17). And, after his resurrection, Jesus called his disciples to follow his example. “As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you” (John 20:21). The Apostle Paul provides us with a practical illustration of what this looks like when he says, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings” (1 Corinthians 9:22-23). This is where discipleship begins.
  • Mentor. Although Jesus met people wherever they were, he didn’t leave them there. He took time to teach and mentor his disciples in the gospel and commanded them to do the same (Matthew 28:19-20). Again, to be a “disciple” literally means to be a student, apprentice, or learner like Mary who “sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.” (Luke 10:39). Thus, teaching and mentoring people in God’s word and the gospel is absolutely essential to the process of making disciples. It is through teaching and mentoring that we pass on “the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).
  • Model. Discipleship isn’t just taught, it’s also caught. That’s why Jesus called his first disciples by saying “Follow me” (Mark 1:17). That’s why Jesus said, “Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:23) That’s why Paul says, “I urge you, then, be imitators of me. That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.” (1 Corinthians 4:16-17). That’s why Peter says “being examples to the flock” is a requirement for church leadership (1 Peter 5:3).
  • Mature. The Apostle Paul says that the goal of the church’s discipleship ministry is to “present everyone mature in Christ” (Colossians 1:28). That’s why Christ gives the church all kinds of leaders like evangelists, pastors and teachers, “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:12-13).
  • Multiply. The first command that God gave to humanity was to “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28), because the mission of God is ultimately to fill all things with his glory through people he created in his image and likeness. But ever since the fall of humanity, there has always been more to this mandate than the mere biological multiplication of people through physical childbearing and rearing. God wants his people to reproduce and multiply their lives spiritually by making disciples as Jesus explains in the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). This was actually part of Jesus’ discipleship strategy from the very beginning when he first began to call his disciples. He told them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17). Similarly, Paul told Timothy, “what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). This is the end of Christian discipleship. To make more disciples and so fill all things with God’s glory through people he created and recreates in his image and likeness.

Discipleship Committee

  • Dennis Eide
  • Bud Leonard
  • Nathan Leopard
  • John Maynard
  • Anne McDougall
  • Wendy Madsen
  • Ryan Stewart
  • Dan Thompson (chair)

Contact Dan Thompson

Dan, Associate Pastor at St. Paul's and chair of the Discipleship Committee, is available to answer questions or help connect you with opportunities to get involved.

Get in touch

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