"The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
Ministry of John the Baptist
3 In those days John the Baptist appeared in the desert of Judea announcing, 2 “ Change your hearts and lives! Here comes the kingdom of heaven! ” 3 He was the one of whom Isaiah the prophet spoke when he said:
4 John wore clothes made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist. He ate locusts and wild honey.
5 People from Jerusalem, throughout Judea, and all around the Jordan River came to him. 6 As they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. 7 Many Pharisees and Sadducees came to be baptized by John. He said to them, “ You children of snakes! Who warned you to escape from the angry judgment that is coming soon? 8 Produce fruit that shows you have changed your hearts and lives. 9 And don’t even think about saying to yourselves, Abraham is our father. I tell you that God is able to raise up Abraham’s children from these stones. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees. Therefore, every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit will be chopped down and tossed into the fire. 11 I baptize with water those of you who have changed your hearts and lives. The one who is coming after me is stronger than I am. I’m not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire. 12 The shovel he uses to sift the wheat from the husks is in his hands. He will clean out his threshing area and bring the wheat into his barn. But he will burn the husks with a fire that can’t be put out. ”
There is an underlying dissatisfaction with the church among many Christians. They feel a longing for something more. As you assess your own congregation, is your church filled with active believers or is it fulfilling Christ’s commission and actually producing discipled servants? We have to count more than numbers if we are truly seeking to do the redeeming work of Christ on earth.
Glover and Lavy build a scriptural foundation for discipleship by illustrating the challenging spiritual journey from unchurched to fully committed follower and identifying the primary person at each stage of spiritual development, the questions for which he or she is seeking answers, the significant relationships that will move that person forward, the obstacles he or she must overcome, and the ministries a church must have in place to intentionally help move that person forward along the spiritual continuum. They then offer a template – a discipleship pathway - that can be used by any congregation of any size in any denomination to put into place in the proper sequential order the ministries that will allow the local church to strategically move people forward toward becoming fully devoted disciples of Jesus. Churches all over the United States have begun reaping the benefits of designing and implementing their own discipleship pathways using the principles outlined in Deepening Your Effectiveness.