Have you ever asked yourself, “What’s the job of the church?” Good question, don’t you think?
Jesus clearly had this subject on his mind when he said,
“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).
These were the last words of Jesus – spoken to his followers – before he returned to heaven. Known as “The Great Commission” it’s here that Jesus gave the church her job. At St. Giles we believe the Church – every church – is called to make disciples.
What is a Disciple?
The word disciple means “learner” and so a disciple of Jesus is one who first learns who Jesus is and then learns how to follow him. In other words, discipleship comes down to two essential components: meeting Jesus and then following Jesus.
We’ll address that first step – meeting Jesus, or evangelism – in a different conversation but for the moment we affirm that the work of evangelism is essential to any healthy church.
Regarding the second part of discipleship – following Jesus – St. Giles has a specific plan we believe produces real spiritual growth in people’s lives. The goal is not merely that we “attend church” but rather than we authentically grow in Christ, becoming mature disciples. To do this, St. Giles is committed to a four-step process of discipleship. We believe this process is Scriptural, easy to understand, and life giving. We want you to understand this process so that you can fully engage in the life of St. Giles and that we can all grow together as disciples of Jesus.
We believe that the first step towards spiritual growth is worship. Jesus Himself established the primacy of worship when he said, “Worship God and Him alone” (Matthew 4:10) and then identified the essence of worship pleasing to God when he said, “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks” (John 4:24). In its essence, we believe that worship grounded in the truth of the Bible and the work of God’s Spirit actively brings the believer into the all-important reality of The Presence of God.
• We believe that becoming “worshipper” is the first step in growing as a disciple of Jesus Christ.
God is into community. While many American Christians are largely disconnected from the local church, the apostles made it clear that we cannot really mature spiritually apart from genuine community experienced in the local church. Our passion for community has led St. Giles to commit the church to a robust network of small groups. The New Testament models this, recording that the early church met “from house to house” (Acts 5:42). Small groups allow us to get to know one another and truly share life together. Jesus himself modeled life in a small group by gathering just 12 disciples around him (Matthew 10:2-4).
• We believe committing to community and joining a small group is the second step towards spiritual growth.
The next critical step towards consistent growth as a believer is developing the discipline of daily prayer and Bible reading. Jesus modeled consistent prayer in his own life (Matthew 14:23) and said of the Bible “Your Word is truth” (John 17:17). Spiritual growth without a consistent commitment to prayer and Bible reading is simply not possible.
• The third step of spiritual growth is daily prayer and Bible reading and so it is our goal is to encourage a culture of daily Bible reading and prayer by example, teaching, and developing resources to help individual believers.
Christians are not only called into relationship, but also into service. Paul wrote, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works” (Ephesians 2:10). Especially as a church that embraces the modern day work of the Holy Spirit, equipping believers to serve is essential to the ministry DNA of St. Giles. Our goal is to intentionally “mobilize” every believer into ministry, helping each person to receive the empowerment of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8; Luke 11:13) and to identify their spiritual gifts, passions, and calling (1 Corinthians 12; Romans 12).
• The fourth step of spiritual growth at St. Giles is to become “mobilized” in ministry.
The St. Giles “Baseball Diamond”
We sometimes think of this four-step process as a baseball diamond. We view worship as “first base”, joining a small group as “second base”, developing a daily walk with Christ through prayer and Bible reading as “third base”, and mobilizing into ministry as “home plate.”
What we’ve designed is grounded in the Bible and deliberately simple. Our goal is for every person at St. Giles to intentionally engage in each of these four “bases”. Remember, just as in baseball, the goal is to get to every base. It’s the four of these life disciplines, practiced together, that really energize your spiritual growth.
How do you begin? It’s simple – just start at first base (worship) and then join a small group. From there, utilize our online tools to start your journey into daily Bible reading and prayer and ask us about our mobilization process and how you start. How easy is that?
And remember, our pastor, the staff, and the elders are here to help you every step of the way! All you need to is to call the church office (704-553-1977) and we’ll be delighted to help you get started on growing spiritually at St. Giles.