Long Story Short

Discipleship

Know. Grow. Go. It’s simple enough, but I’ve always been slow to come around.

My Dilemma

Christ found me as I was about to enter law school. His work of grace so overwhelmed me that I called the law school and told them to give my spot to someone else. Law school simply wouldn’t do for me. Jesus’ words in the “Great Commission” struck me: Go therefore and make disciples . . .

The Great Commission was clear enough: We are to make disciples for Christ. But how? I was told to read Scripture, so I read Scripture. I was told to faithfully attend church, so I did. I was told to pray, to serve, to evangelize the lost. I did all of those things and more. I wandered aimlessly for years bouncing in this hodgepodge of spiritual activities. I was doing good things, but I had no aim. I joined this book study, that small group, this accountability group, that service project, etc. It wasn’t as if my wanderings had no meaningful moments. It just seemed scattered. I lacked a singleness of purpose. If someone had asked me, “You have 40 to 50 years to make the most of your life for Christ. How will you spend them?” I had no cohesive response. I needed a clear purpose: something around which I could focus all my energies; preferably, something so simple I could write it on a napkin in a coffee shop.

My Discovery

I made the discovery in a wonderful congregation just outside of Louisville, Kentucky. It became evident, early-on, this congregation had a defined vision and mission. Their purpose statement was simple and clear: Making God’s glory our passion in order to lead others to know Christ, grow in Christ, and go for Christ.

And there it was! Know, Grow, Go! Everything in that congregation—every ministry, every event, every activity—was aligned around knowing Christ, growing in Christ, and going for Christ. I began implementing that mission into my personal life and aligning my choices around it. Finally, I had the singleness of purpose I sought.

My Passion

God soon called me to a historic congregation in Alabama, founded in 1817. Over those 200 years, the congregation had been a faithful gospel witness. Like me, though, they had lacked a cohesive identity. They did many good things but were stretched in many different directions. I brought to them to the Know-Grow-Go philosophy, and things took off.

We speak in terms of three circles (that can fit neatly on the back of a napkin): Know. Grow. Go. Two unique dynamics make it work: (1) movement and (2) alignment. Movement is our aim is to “move” people to deeper levels of discipleship. We don’t measure growth by numbers of converts or the number of ministries we do. We measure growth by how many people we can move through those circles to deeper levels of discipleship. Alignment is the idea that everything we do must align with this purpose statement. Each ministry is aligned around this simple process of making disciples.

I needed a unifying theme around which to concentrate my scattered efforts. I found it. The aim of this blog is no different. Everything flows out of this single purpose and can be traced back to it. My prayer is that this blog will help you to know Christ, grow in Christ, and go for Christ. Let’s enjoy the journey together.

Author Discipleship

Chip Thornton

Pastor of FBC Springville, Alabama. Chip is a graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he earned his Ph.D. in expository preaching. He enjoys spending time with his family, has a passion for discipleship, and is committed to biblical exposition.