WHAT IS A DISCIPLE?

The mission of Ooltewah Baptist Church comes straight from Jesus' parting words that He spoke to His disciples before He ascended back to be with God the Father.  Our mission is, "Making disciples by following Christ's example."  The mission statement begs a little bit of further explanation of what a disciple is.  Simply put, a disciple is one who Embraces the Gospel, Ingests His Word, and Engages His/Her Platform.


Although a disciple of Christ could be explained in a number of different ways, what these descriptors seek to do is provide some handles on the exemplary fruit that marks someone who has been authentically converted and that bears the proofs of being a follower of Christ.


A disciple of Jesus, EMBRACES THE GOSPEL

Simply put, a disciple of Jesus has responded to the Holy Spirit's invitation to be saved by trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior.  In addition to one's salvation, by God's grace, he/she seeks to live a transformed and Christ-centered life by dying to selfishness moment by moment and living to Christ's life being lived in and through him/her. (John 3:16, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Romans 10:9-10, Luke 9:23)


A disciple of Jesus, INGESTS THE WORD

John wrote in John 8:31 the words of Jesus who said, "If you abide in My word, than you are truly disciples of mine."  God's Word is living and active; it is timeless, relevant and cultural applicable to every person in every generation.  The message of the cross (the gospel and God's Word) is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being saved, it is the power of God (1 Corinthians 1:18).  When someone is genuinely converted and truly saved, he/she has an appetite to read and hear God's Word that was never there before they became a Christian.  Because the Spirit of God comes in and lives within every Christian, there is a new hunger and thirst for His Word that never existed when he/she was spiritually dead and uninterested in the things of God.  Once someone is saved, the process of becoming more and more like Jesus begins.  This process works from the inside out as God's Word works to renew one's mind and thinking.


With this in mind, a true disciple seeks to be rooted and planted as a new person in Christ, by the transformation that comes from regular times in God's Word and the taking in (Ingest) of the Word through a private devotional life and corporate worship for the preaching of the Word as well as small groups aimed at spurring one another on to love, good deeds and accountability in growth in godliness (Hebrews 10:24-25, Psalm 19:7-10).


A disciple of Jesus, ENGAGES HIS/HER PLATFORMS

As the church's mission states, "we are called to make disciples by following Christ's example."  As a church we seek to follow His example by prioritizing the preaching of the Word in quality congregational worship services, providing healthy small groups where the Bible is taught and applied (open to all) and "d-groups" (1 on 3 discipleship group that covers the fundamentals of our faith over the course of 26 weeks, after which the 4 are challenged to start a new one with new people from our church's small groups or worship services).


As disciples are in the multiplication business and discipleship involves evangelism, local outreach and foreign missions, along with other ministries that facilitate the church being the church to the world, are provided.


Although formal opportunities are provided to be on mission, through mission trips, outreach activities, evangelistic events, etc...each and every day, we live life in the given "platforms" that God has planted us in.  Some of us are teachers, some engineers, some police officers, some students and still others, salesmen or any number of things.  As the early church was scattered all over the world as a result of persecution, members of the church find themselves scattered all over, for one reason or another, as a result of vocation, neighborhoods and recreation.  Lord willing, each of these places are platforms within which, every Christian will boldly be about the Great Commission: make disciples of all nations.  Disciples of Jesus look for ways to actively share their faith, have a part in leading friends to Jesus and then helping those friends grow in their relationship with Christ (Matthew 28:18-20, 2 Timothy 2:2).