The second part of our mission is to make disciples.
What's a disciple?
How does one become a disciple of Jesus?
Disciple: /dəˈsīpəl/ a follower or student of a teacher, leader, or philosopher. In other words, a follower of Jesus Christ.
We hear and believe the Gospel: After the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost (Acts 2), the Apostle Peter explained to the gathered crowd the message about Jesus Christ (which we call the Gospel or "Good News") When they heard this, Luke tells us that the people were "cut straight to the heart" by the Spirit who had just been poured out on the Apostles. The crowd asked what they should do in response to this message. Peter responded: Repent and be baptized. Repent means to "turn the opposite direction." Baptism is an outward sign of our spiritual death and resurrection to eternal life in Jesus. When we confess our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we are "born again."
We live a life of "discipline" - We often see discipline as a word meaning "punishment" but really the root of discipline comes from a Latin word meaning "to train, to instruct, to gain knowledge." An area of study is called a discipline. We discipline ourselves when we begin an exercise regimen. Discipline is also obedience to a set of standards or practices. To grow as disciples of Jesus, we must train spiritually for the work of being a disciple. We do this through the disciplines of study and prayer.
How does BPC make disciples ?
What are some Opportunities for Discipleship at BPC?
We proclaim the Good News - To proclaim is to announce publicly and officially. Proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ is to announcement his message to the world. Just as happened when Peter proclaimed the message, the Holy Spirit moves through the hearing of that message to bring about faith. We proclaim the message of the Gospel through our preaching, our teaching, our celebration of the sacraments, and even in our hospitality.
We practice the disciplines of the Christian life in several key ways.
- We study the Scriptures - The Bible (Old and New Testaments) is inspired by the Spirit, and is the Word of God written which proclaims the Good News of Jesus, the Word of God in human flesh. We commit ourselves to being students of the Scriptures and so learn the message we proclaim, and the faith which disciples of Jesus are called to embody.
- We respond with prayer - Prayer is conversation with God, as well as times of silence and meditation before God. Prayer is the way in which our minds, our hearts, and our wills are brought into line with God's. Prayer is also an expression of our faith and trust in God.
- We live together in community - We practice the command Jesus gives us to love one another by learning what that means in the context of the church community. We learn the meaning of love through service, forgiveness, compassion and kindness to one another.
- We celebrate the sacraments together - The sacrament of Baptism is the beginning of our journey to faith in Jesus Christ, and the sacrament of Holy Communion provides us with on-going nourishment we need for this journey.
- We do all these things as an offering of worship - for as the Apostle Paul tells us, "Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God, for this is your spiritual act of worship." We do what we do to honor and glorify God alone.
Sunday Morning Worship - through Word and Sacrament, the Holy Spirit gathers us, encounters us, transforms us, and charges us to bear Christ to the world. The beauty is that this isn't just an individual experience, but it's the body of Christ united in praise to God, and being transformed to live one with another. Learn more about our worship service here.
Sunday LIGHT - our version of Sunday school, we have existing classes for most ages (and can accommodate for all ages), providing a chance for small group study and reflection on God's Word.
4G Bible Studies - these are mid-week, monthly gatherings of our young adults for study, fellowship and prayer. One meets the last Mondat of the month at 6:30 p.m. at Mohawk Coffee House in Bessemer.
Adult Bible Studies - a mid-week adult Bible study led by Pastor Nathan will meet February 17-March 23 at Mohawk Coffee House. We will be studying the Gospel of John. Other groups can be formed as there is interest and resources will be provided for those interested.
Personal Devotional Resources - We subscribe to print versions of the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s "These Days" as well as RBC's "Our Daily Bread" for devotional materials. We also traditionally provide resources for Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter seasons. Additionally, there are other online devotionals we recommend, such as d365.org or Our Daily Bread online (odb.org), or even the seasonal devotionals of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (www.pts.edu/devotional_1).
Banner image by Nathan Leslie