The need for discipleship
Discipleship is vital for new believers and their personal growth in Christ. A missionary shares her experience.

By Chandra Smith, Ecuador in South America

During the last 12 years here in Ecuador, God has really shown me the importance of discipleship. I have had the privilege to share the gospel with many people here and I have had the privilege to be there when they have accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour. But I have also seen many of them fall away from having a faith in Christ, returning to their life before.   

I truly regret not fighting for their attention, for not challenging them to study God’s word with me and other believers and for not realizing earlier the importance of helping them establish strong, deep roots in God’s word.

The good news is that not everyone whom I have witnessed accepting Christ has fallen away. There are some for whom I have had the privilege to model a Christian life, to teach how to have a deeper relationship with God, and to have a Christian fellowship which glorifies Him. 

Part of discipleship is also equipping new believers to share their faith and disciple new believers. Last year, a part of the SIM team developed a discipleship training course which can equip local believers to be able to disciple other believers. The material is practical and it clearly explains the importance of discipleship and the different stages in our Christian lives. It shows how to lead someone who is spiritually dead to being a spiritual parent. We were able to do the training with the church in Portete, a small village in the Loja Province. Through teaching it there we have been able to refine it and make it more understandable and practical for any believer to use. 

Over the last 12 years, I have had the privilege to disciple many believers and I am very grateful to say they are still walking with God. Some are involved in ministry in other areas of Ecuador and some are arriving at the point to start doing ministry. But all of them are starting to see changes in their lives and the people around them because of the growing faith. 

I would like to encourage you all to disciple a new believer, just like Christ did with the disciples. Remember Matthew 28:18-20 – We as believers are commanded by God to make disciples!