Bridge Community Church exists to glorify God by making and multiplying disciples of Jesus Christ.
God is glorified in many ways, but in these last days, He is most glorified when much is made of His Son. There is no glory that exceeds the glory of His grace as we see it shining forth from the face of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Who is a Disciple?
A disciple is a follower of Jesus. It is anyone who is converted. Joined to Christ. Born again. In other words, every Christian is a disciple. A disciple is not a special category or a higher degree of Christian or a more serious Christian. Every believer is a disciple.
And just as every believer is called by God, so every disciple is first and foremost called. Jesus said “You did not choose me, but I chose you to go and bear fruit” (John 15:16). It is decisively a work of God - the effectual call of God upon your life which transforms you from being a non-disciple to a disciple. That being said, while discipling is primarily a work of God, God uses means. And the Bible teaches us that we are the means. In becoming a disciple, we are at the same time the agency through which God works to draw people to Himself. This is why after the initial call, Jesus said to his disciples, “you will be fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).
So how do you make a disciple? You make disciples by participating in the work of God, who is the “Great Discipler” (Hebrews 13:20), by praying and engaging people with the gospel and good works. Regarding the latter, it needs to be said that while good works is an essential part of the Christian life, it is not the gospel message.
We are not the gospel. Our changed lives are not the gospel. Our good works are not the gospel.
Jesus lived the gospel. Jesus did the gospel. And Jesus is the gospel.
We make disciples ultimately by sharing the work that Jesus has already done.
How do you mature disciples?
John Stott once commented on the state of evangelicalism in an interview with Christianity Today. When asked how he would evaluate evangelicalism, he described it as having “growth without depth”. Christianity with no depth. A true oxymoron.
We want to do away with the shallow definition of a disciple. We do not want to be conformed to the evangelical mold of church ministry. We not only want to make disciples, we want to mature them. To be sure, there is much overlap between making disciples and maturing disciples, but we draw a distinction here between the two to highlight the fact that a true disciple is always growing.
A disciple can only grow into maturity as he/she immerses him/herself in the regular fellowship of a local church.
We live in a privatized culture that measures the spiritual maturity of disciples by how much time they spend alone in the Word of God and prayer in the privacy of their bedrooms; whereas the Bible seems to spend much more time emphasizing the importance of being able to minister the gospel to one another by encouraging, reminding, correcting, exhorting and rebuking one another in light of the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
The Bible makes it clear that we are the means through which God has appointed to work that change in our lives (Hebrews 3:12-13; 10:24-25; Ephesians 3:18; 4:25-32). As we minister the gospel to one another by exposing idols, as we exhort and encourage one another to love and good works, as we pray for one another and sing spiritual hymns of praise to God with one another... we will be built up into the fullness of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ.
It is striking that the last thing Jesus did with His disciples before His death was institute the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Moreover, the call to make disciples is intrinsically tied to the sacrament of baptism. Therefore, we believe that the sacraments are an important part of discipleship.
How do you multiply disciples?
Every disciple is called to go out and make more disciples. We do not want to confine discipleship within the church walls. Through regular evangelism and small groups - as well as monthly services within our communities, we are committed to mobilizing disciples to go out with the good news of Jesus Christ and multiply (Matthew 28:18-20).