Discipleship takes place most naturally and with greatest fruitfulness when the members of a local church understand biblical, mutual ministry. The cultivation of this culture of growth is the responsibility of the church’s shepherds, by means of the faithful preaching of God’s Word; and the church’s members, by means of caring for each other and nurturing one another’s growth . Mark Dever presents this biblical mindset, and reinforces the concept in the following paragraph from The Church: The Gospel Made Visible.
[T]he soundness of a church is greatly improved when the congregation cultivates a culture of discipleship and growth in the which individual Christian growth is normal, not exceptional. One indicator of growth, moreover, is an increasing level of concern for the spiritual state of others. A concern for others should include non-Christians around the world (thus an emphasis on missions), in the congregation’s own local area (thus an emphasis on evangelism), and especially for other members of the congregation (thus an emphasis on discipline one another). A culture of discipling, evangelism, and missions best encourages the church to be what God has made it to be—a reflection of his own character.
As you prepare to gather with your local family of God on the Lord’s Day, ask yourself what you need to do to help cultivate a culture for healthy growth. What particular one-another ministry can you carry out? What care and encouragement can you bring to your spiritual family, your brothers and sisters who need you?