What is a disciple? A disciple is a believer who has been transformed by the gospel into someone who is in a true relationship with God and other disciples, and who actively seeks opportunities to glorify God through service.
To use a metaphor, a disciple is like a healthy plant. He or she is the product of a powerful seed that has germinated into a branch bearing good fruit.
A church cannot be pleasing to God unless it makes disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). Therefore, Ashville Road has designed a biblical process that moves believers from new covert to growing disciple to productive servant. We like to simplify this process into the statement, “Seed, Plant, Fruit.”
Every disciple’s journey begins with the seed of the Word of God. In the Parable of the Sower, the Word is described as seed cast indiscriminately on different types of soil representing different kinds of human hearts (Luke 8:4-15). Only the good soil, the “honest and good heart,” was able to receive the seed and bear fruit.
We believe strongly in restoring the New Testament church by teaching and practicing the pure gospel without adding anything to it or taking anything from it (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:5-6; Revelation 22:18-19; 1 Corinthians 4:6; Galatians 1:8-10). Only when we receive with meekness the implanted seed will be born again (1 Peter 1:23) and saved (James 1:21).
Since discipleship starts with the seed, the first phase of our process is driven by evangelism. This includes foreign mission efforts, but our main concentration is upon sowing the seed wherever we can through personal Bible studies.
In John 15:5, Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” After the seed germinates into a tender shoot, it must mature into a sturdy branch or it will wither and die. According to Jesus’ analogy, a healthy branch is characterized by two qualities: 1) it should be inseparable from the vine; 2) it should remain in a state of continuous growth.
To facilitate these qualities our second phase involves worship and Bible classes. Worship is the means by which believers relate to God, thus helping them abide in the vine. Our Bible classes are designed to help disciples increase their knowledge of God’s Word, which keeps them growing.
Branches never grow alone. For this reason, fellowship is also important in this phase of our church’s process. As disciples relate to God through worship and grow in his word, fellowship naturally occurs (1 John 1:7). There is no stronger bond that the one that is formed by faith in Christ.
Jesus continued his analogy of the vine and the branches in John 15, saying, “By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples” (v. 8). Ashville Road discourages the kind of religion in which Christians are merely spectators warming pews. We emphasize involvement through service, knowing our fruit is proof that we are truly disciples of Christ.
To encourage involvement, our elders have organized a plan of work that includes 22 ministries offering around 200 opportunities to serve. All members are encouraged to move from active worship and Bible study into this third phase of ministry. Take a look at what we’re doing. There are opportunities for just about everyone, regardless of his or her particular abilities and opportunities.
Fruit by definition is nature’s seedbearer. An apple may taste good and provide nourishment, but in the end God made it to produce more apples. That’s why every event and service offered at Ashville Road is in some way tied to evangelism. The process comes back around full circle. Our goal is for every member to do his or her part to win souls, even if it is in some small way.
We love talking to people who are interested in joining us in this process. Please contact us with your questions.