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Creating a Culture of Discipleship

Mike Augsburger, pastor of Soteria Des Moines (right), talks with Jim Tillotson, president of Faith Baptist Bible College and Theological Seminary.

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa—When the Annual Conference of the Iowa Association of Regular Baptist Churches began on April 12, the host church was uncertain if speaker Tim Potter would be able to attend. His plane had broken down on the tarmac that morning.

Tim Capon, IARBC state representative, was scheduled to speak in the first main session at 1:00 p.m., and Potter was due to speak that night at 6:45.

Thankfully, Potter was able to board a different plane, and his flight arrived in time for him to speak that evening at the host church, Soteria Des Moines.

Introducing Potter midway through the evening session, Capon said, “You’ve had a long day.”

Potter is pastor of Grace Church, Mentor, Ohio, and “has a heart for a disciple-making culture in the church,” Capon says. Capon had met Potter at an IARBC conference several years ago and asked him to speak at this conference, whose theme was “Making Disciples Together,” so attendees could see what discipleship looks like in a church.

For the last few years the IARBC has focused on revitalizing churches, Capon says, and discipleship is vital for churches’ revitalization.

Making disciples involves building relationships, Potter says. And those relationships start by creating conversations. Don’t just invite someone to church, hoping the pastor will give a gospel invitation in the sermon, Potter says. Sharing the gospel with people—”that’s your job,” he tells believers.

Alne Hartog of Maranatha Baptist, Grimes, Iowa, leads a workshop at the IARBC Annual Conference.

When a church becomes a disciple-making church—when its members tell others about Christ—people profess Christ as Savior, begin serving the Lord in the church, and disciple others.

In other words, when a church becomes a disciple-making church, “2 Timothy 2:2 happens,” Potter says: “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”

In addition to hearing Potter speak during main sessions, attendees also participated in workshops aimed at sharpening ministry skills.

A business meeting was also part of the two-day conference. Attendees voted into the IARBC two new churches: North Cedar Baptist Church in Cedar Falls, pastored by John Harrell, and First Baptist Church in Camanche, pastored by Seth Odor.

When First Baptist discovered the IARBC, “it was love at first sight,” Odor relates a member saying. His church is excited to partner with the IARBC.

After having to cancel last year’s annual conference, Capon says “it was wonderful to see everyone” at this year’s conference. “We look forward to seeing everyone again next year at Iowa Regular Baptist Camp for the IARBC 2022 Annual Conference.”