Greetings from Mexico,
In Jesus’ final words to the church, He told us in the great commission to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them” A disciple is a mature follower of Jesus Christ. As our church has grown over the years, we have seen the need for our staff to develop a better plan for this key area of discipleship.
In order to do that, at the beginning of this year I developed a discipleship program that our church is now using called NEXT STEPS! This is the major focus for our church in 2016, and I wanted to talk about this NEXT STEPS discipleship program in this update! Our Next Steps program is our beginning discipleship program for new believers and it consists of three steps. Step #1- Salvation, Step #2- Baptism, Step #3- Pillars class!
The first step to someone getting into a relationship is always salvation! In order to bring salvation to our city, our church is (and always has been) committed to presenting the message of salvation with an invitation at every service. Since we started our Next Steps program, so far this year, we are averaging 12 first time professions of faith each week. It is always exciting to see hearts being tugged on and then hands being raised as people take a first time public stand to follow Jesus Christ! Would you please join us in praying that many would respond to the message of salvation so that this process of discipleship can begin!
The 2nd step to our Next Steps program is Baptism. As we read through the book of Acts, we see the new believers there baptized immediately after conversion. Water baptism is the outward symbol that a person has been made a new creation inwardly Christ. This year we have changed up our baptism and schedule, and starting in 2016, we now schedule monthly baptismal celebrations on the final weekend of every month. We perform the baptisms during the service so that everyone in our church can witness them..
Our most recent baptisms were held on Easter weekend at the church. We had a total of 41 new believers baptized over our three weekend services. A highlight for me was when Daniel’s best friend and neighbor 13 year old Cesar was baptized. Daniel had been sharing with Cesar and explained baptism to him and then Daniel encouraged him to be baptized. When I baptized Cesar, I invited Daniel to come up and join me and my son baptized his friend with me.
The third and final step for our Next Steps program is an adult Sunday School class that we call the Pillars. Our Pillars are the 7 core Biblical beliefs that our church focuses on and prioritizes. These key topics include prayer, the church, worship, giving, and many other Biblical themes. To familiarize our church family with these Pillars, I did a Sunday series where I covered them one topic per Sunday.
The pillars class is held continuously and our new attenders are able to begin the course on any given Sunday and complete it 7 weeks later. Last month we had over 50 teens and adults complete our 7 week Pillars course, and we have over 30 more that have joined up to take the course this month! Graduation from the pillars class is also our pre-requisite to being able to serve in our church.
One of the extra blessings of our NEXT STEPS discipleship program is it gives our church planters in training a model to use in their future church plants. We have several of our church plants already using this discipleship program and they are experiencing spiritual growth in their congregations through it!
Finally, I want to personally thank you for supporting and praying for our family and ministry. It is through your prayers that God meets our spiritual needs, and through your financial support that God meets our physical needs! We are honored to partner with you and serve the Lord as your missionaries!
Con mucho amor de Mexico, (with much love from Mexico)
Mike, Sarah, Grace, and Daniel
#1- Pray for that God will save many and that they will get baptized and complete our pillars class!
#2- Pray that we will be able to plug in our NEXT STEPS graduates into areas of service at the church!
#3- Pray that God will provide for the financial needs of our family!