Jesus commanded us to make disciples, not converts. In talking with other pastors and ministry leaders, the one thing I hear the most of is the comments that the area of the church that lacks the most is the area of discipleship. Often times we have a ‘dunk them and drop them’ philosophy. We see people saved and we have them baptized and then that is all there is to it. Many times in my ministry I have seen people trust Christ as Savior and then they never grow and they never get involved in the church. Many churches have a revolving backdoor, we lose people as quickly as we gain people. How do we keep this from happening? How do we see people saved and see them stay faithful? How do we keep people in the church? The answer is simple: Discipleship. I am afraid that many pastors think their job is to simply preach on Sunday’s. Pastors tend to think that the Sunday sermon is the most important part of the church and that it is in the sermon that disciples are made. Now, I am not diminishing the importance of good preaching, however, preaching is only one tool. A church that is centered around the pastor’s sermons is a church filled with ‘fans’ of the pastor, and not disciples of Christ. That is why I believe that every church must have an ongoing discipleship program. This can be accomplished through ministries that most churches already have: Sunday School, youth groups, etc. The church where I pastor, Spruce Head Community Church, is not a perfect church by any means. We also have a revolving backdoor, though we are making strides to nail it shut. Though we are not perfect, we do make a huge effort in the area of discipleship. At Spruce Head we are continuing to develop a discipleship mentorship ministry. Whenever someone trust Christ as Savior we hook them up with another believer who will be their mentor and meet with them on a regular basis for one on one discipleship. Currently, I have the privilege of meeting with two individuals at least once a week. I also teach our people that every Christian should have someone that they are discipling and someone who is discipling them. The scripture plainly teaches that we are to help one another in our spiritual growth and we are to hold each other accountable. You see, the church is not a place where you go to once a week to watch a show. The church is a community of local believers who are engaged in each others lives through true, intentional, Biblical discipleship. As disciples are being made you develop strong, mature believers in Christ, which in turn, produces strong families and a strong church. We can preach the Gospel all we want to, we can even see people saved, but if we do not intentionally engage in one on one, personal discipleship the church will never grow. Discipleship must be preached and practiced in every local church. The way I look at it is that if the church is not engaged in discipleship, then it is not a real church.