Disciple-making Catalyst CABA Report—April 2017
David Frasure, Disciple-making Catalyst
A healthy church is a church that is making disciples who can make disciples. From the bed-babies to the senior adults, our task is to move people toward the goal of winning and making disciples for Christ that He may be glorified and pleased.
All of us can see and value the larger group ministry of the church. The morning worship gathering creates a wonderful place for worship and edification. Yet, as we study the life of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostles, we cannot help but notice the value of using smaller groups for interactive discipleship. Discipleship happens best in the context of relationships that are developed in small groups.
Because healthy small groups are so effective, that has been a key emphasis in our strategy for making disciples in the Cincinnati Area Baptist Association. According to our ACP reports, CABA churches averaged about 8,500 people in worship last year, yet only had 5,400 people in Sunday School and Small Group Ministry. That means about 42 % (3,100) of our morning attendees are not being discipled and, in all likelihood, about 2500 will no longer be active church members five years from now (research shows that 80 % of those who attend worship only will drop out of church in five years). Our churches need to reach 500 people a year, just to break even!
To keep more people in discipleship last year, we offered special training for pastors and Sunday School directors. David Francis, the Sunday School specialist from LifeWay Christian Resources, came to our Association, offering rich insights into Sunday School and Small Group Ministry.
We have also been emphasizing Vacation Bible School training in our Association. Last year we had one of the largest VBS clinics in Ohio, in our area. Nearly half of all Christians come to faith in Christ before they turn 13, with two-thirds receiving Christ before their 18th birthday. Obviously, our ministry to children is important to the kingdom and it is strategic for the success of the church. In addition, we are providing resources for churches to host Backyard Bible Clubs in an effort to reach and disciple more children and their families for Christ.
As we look forward to the days ahead, I am excited to announce that we will have a VBS Clinic on Tuesday, April 25 at 7:00 PM at Fellowship Baptist Church in Maineville, a Children’s Ministry Conference on Saturday, September 9 at FBC South Lebanon, and we are planning a Sunday School Workshop on Saturday, October 7 with Allan Taylor, who formerly served with Pastor Johnny Hunt at FBC Woodstock as the Minister of Education, and currently serves on staff at LifeWay. We also are developing a Discipleship Team and free resources that can aid churches in worship, children’s ministry and small groups.