United Faith Church of Barnegat, NJ is a non-denominational, Bible-believing church established in 2006. United Faith Church exists to share the love of the Father to all people in the Barnegat community and surrounding areas. United Faith Church embraces the discipleship process as an integral part of the growth of the Christian today, and shares below the biblical basis and key practices that have led to the church’s success in making disciples. Recently, the staff of Interviewing Experts sat down with Pastor Jerry and Pastor Janeth Santiago of United Faith Church to learn more about their mission of discipleship.
Interviewing Experts: What is discipleship, and why is it necessary?
United Faith Church: We believe that discipleship is the process of leading others by example to follow Jesus Christ through obedience to God’s Word and the leading of His Holy Spirit. United Faith Church believes that discipleship is absolutely necessary since Jesus, Himself, commanded His followers in the Bible to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to obey all of His commands (Matt 28:19-20). United Faith Church recognizes that discipleship is vital for the growth of a believer.
Interviewing Experts: How long does it usually take to disciple someone?
United Faith Church: There is no time limit on discipleship because it is an investment into someone’s life. Just as a parent is entrusted with the life-long responsibility of raising a child in order to ensure the child’s well-being and success, one who disciples is committed to guiding a newborn believer in reaching his/her greatest potential. Furthermore, every child must go through stages of growth and development learning to imitate the values and principles taught by his/her parents. Similarly, a new believer must be purposefully guided in the Word of God with the intent of leading the new disciple into maturity in his/her relationship with Jesus Christ. Therefore, United Faith Church in Barnegat considers discipleship to be a life-long process that evolves and never ends.
Interviewing Experts: How can an interested believer engage in discipleship?
United Faith Church: To be a disciple is to be a life-long learner, a student of Jesus Christ. United Faith Church believes that followers of Christ will always be disciples, and after proper discipleship, become makers of disciples themselves. United Faith Church acknowledges that the discipleship process begins internally, within the heart. The internal change that takes place in the heart results in the external change of one’s behavior and mindset. This external change is indisputable once the love of the Lord Jesus Christ enters a heart; as a result, a person that was once an angry, bitter, and selfish person now becomes joyful, peaceful, and loving. United Faith Church also acknowledges that a true disciple counts the costs before committing to follow Jesus Christ, since this is the greatest life decision a person could ever make (Luke 14:27-30).
Interviewing Experts: I am sure you can speak to what you’ve seen are the results of effective discipleship…
United Faith Church: Absolutely! United Faith Church ascertains that the reward of implementing true discipleship is immeasurable and invaluable; the result is a life that is no longer conformed to the ways of this world, but transformed to the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. Therefore, United Faith Church believes that the disciple becomes the light of the world and the salt of the earth, because Jesus Christ is Lord of the person’s life. As a result of the discipleship process, many believers at United Faith Church possess peace in the midst of a chaotic world, hope instead of despair, and joy instead of mourning. They are established in their relationship with Jesus Christ.
Interviewing Experts: Can a person disciple him or herself?
United Faith Church: No, a person cannot disciple him or herself. United Faith Church in Barnegat follows the Great Commission of Jesus Christ, which clearly commands the disciples of Jesus Christ to “go” and “make” other disciples, “teaching” them all that Jesus commands (Matt 28:18-20). In order to fulfill this commission, believers must themselves willingly submit to discipleship as well as engage in the discipleship of others. A believer should be guided by someone who is mature in the faith as described in the Scriptures. During Jesus’ ministry His disciples observed, experienced, and learned His ways and commands in every aspect of life. The disciples, after submitting to the instruction of Jesus, were then commissioned to go out and disciple others by teaching and modeling the ways of Christ.
United Faith Church consistently focuses on the value and necessity of accountability in the discipleship process, in that a disciple strives to be accountable for his/her actions in the godly counsel of many. United Faith Church in Barnegat makes every effort to produce disciples, obedient to the Word of God and equipped to carry out the Great Commission.
To learn more about discipleship at United Faith Church in Barnegat, please visit unitedfaithchurch.org.