Philosophy of Discipleship

It is the belief of the leadership of North Side Baptist Church that the Scripture teaches that we were created to be part of a community and not go through life alone. More specifically, God refers to all born again believers as his children. We are indeed part of God’s family!

At North Side, we seek to obey that philosophy and believe the membership of North Side Baptist Church is a smaller, more intimate part of God’s family. Even so, the size of North Side makes it difficult to know everybody. For this reason, we intentionally set up different environments in which discipleship can occur. All our efforts in discipleship are guiding by the command of Jesus in “the great commission” and God’s words to the Church given through the apostle Paul:

”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 28:19-20)

“…to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood…by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” (Ephesians 4:11-16)

Definition of a Disciple: The leadership of NS has defined a Disciple of Jesus Christ in the following way: A disciple of Jesus Christ is one who:

  1. Loves Jesus
  2. Learns the teachings and values of Scripture
  3. Lives out the teachings and values of Scripture
  4. Leads others to do the same

We call this L4 for short. Though simple, these characteristics describe what a disciple of Jesus Christ looks like in our world.

Core Values

All that is involved with discipleship at NS comes under the five core values established for disciple making. These core values serve as our compass and guide. We do not desire to pursue any program, promotion, etc. that cannot be defined by these five core values, which are gleaned from Scripture:

  1. Centrality of Scripture
  2. Mature/Equipped Leadership
  3. Intentionality
  4. Accountability
  5. Reproducibility

Process of Discipleship

In addition to the command of making disciples, Scripture also instructs the elders…     “to equip the saints to carry out God’s work and build up the body of Christ” (Ephesians 4:11-13). In order to facilitate Jesus’ command to make disciples and Paul’s command to equip the saints, the leadership of NS has established five environments by which we seek to make disciples. This is the process by which we seek to obey Scripture in disciple making.

  1. Large Group
  2. Class Groups
  3. Small Group
  4. Family
  5. One on One

Large Group: This environment is specifically, cooperate worship, where the NS family comes together to cooperatively worship our God. While this practice is necessary and scriptural, it serves only as the beginning of discipleship. In this environment, we hear God’s word preached and together offer our Lord a sacrifice of worship.

Class Group: (North Side University – NSU): NSU provides an environment a bit more intimate than the large group worship. NSU is series of classes taught by the elders to the church family. These classes could be as brief and specific as 2-4 weeks or a more inclusive curriculum with a 12-week study. The classes taught range from Discipleship 101, Old and New Testament, World Religions, Cults, Basic Christian Doctrine, etc. There is also a leadership tract that prepares men for becoming an elder.

Small Group (Discipleship Groups): Because of this final instruction from Jesus and because of the example of discipleship Jesus set in the Gospels, NS seeks to keep our Discipleship Groups to a group of no more than 12. While that is our preferred setting for group discipleship, logistical and scheduling factors sometimes make it necessary to have larger groups. Ultimately, our goal is to provide these types of group discipleship settings because they most closely resemble the model used by Jesus and churches of the New Testament. Regardless of size, all groups use the Gospel Project curriculum in their doctrinal study.

Family Discipleship: The leadership of NS believes that the most crucial area for discipleship is in the home. This plan will consist of 8-10 values from Scripture that the head of the household will teach to the family unit in a calendar year. This plan will be versatile in that it can be used with any family consisting of any and all age groups. Family discipleship is essential if we are to be successful in equipping our church family to be disciple makers.

One on One Discipleship: While discipleship groups, family studies, and classes are all an important part of discipleship, the essence of discipleship is one mature and equipped Christian teaching, supporting, and holding accountable another believer, so that believer can eventually do the same for another believer. This is how discipleship is best reproduced. In these one on one relationships, situations and circumstances will of course vary, but the leadership of NS strives for every person being discipled to be taught the sound Christian doctrine explained in the Scripture.