Calvary Baptist Church of Belvidere, Illinois
"And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."
2 Timothy 2:2
We are an independent Baptist church that has served the Belvidere and Boone County area for more than 150 years. We exist to bring glory to God by serving our community through the Great Commission. We believe this is the greatest privilege a person can have, so we take our mission seriously. Jesus Christ gave His Great Commission before ascending to Heaven where He now resides at God the Father's right hand. Although He commissioned His disciples almost two thousand years ago, His words are just as important for us today. So what exactly is the Great Commission?
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
A commission is an order given by a superior in which one is directed to complete a particular task. When Jesus gave His commission, He assigned an important task to His disciples: "make disciples of all the nations."
Such an order seems simple enough, but where were the disciples to start? How does one go about making disciples? Jesus provided the answer, giving three simple steps to train His church into disciples of Jesus Christ.
(1) Find people.
In the Old Testament, God focused primarily on the nation Israel. While God loves all people, He chose Israel to be the nation through whom He would restore the earth from the corruption brought upon it by Adam and Eve. As a result, God instructed His people to separate from the pagan practices of the surrounding nations. Now that Jesus has paid the once-and-for-all sacrifice for sin, God has temporarily paused His plan for Israel and switched His focus to bring the message of salvation to all people. But Jesus' disciples were Jewish. After fifteen hundred years of isolation, spreading out and fraternizing with pagan peoples would not come naturally.
So Jesus started simple. Step #1: Go!
(2) Baptize people.
There's much to say about baptism. By including baptism as a necessary step of discipleship, Jesus made several things known.
- First, people must be saved. For a person to be baptized, they must first receive Jesus Christ as their Savior. Baptism is a public announcement of what has already taken place within a person when they come to Christ. It pictures the death and resurrection of Christ and publicly identifies the individual with Him. Baptism is very important, but people must be saved first through the Gospel.
- Second, by including baptism, Jesus made it clear that discipleship is not the same as salvation. Discipleship is what comes after salvation. If a disciple is one who is baptized, and baptism comes after salvation, then a disciple is the next stage in one's relationship with Christ. Baptism, then, is the first act of obedience in discipleship.
- Third, Jesus indicated that the church's concern for people must go further than evangelism. Evangelism is expected, but the church's concern should be to minister to others in such a way that it continues on with them for the rest of their lives.
By instructing the disciples to baptize, Jesus demonstrated the importance of spiritual growth in the life of believers. Step #2: Baptize!
(3) Teach people.
Here is the heart of disciple-making. The word disciple means "student." It follows, then, that those who would be disciples must be taught. To some degree, every aspect of the church's ministry connects to teaching. People need to be taught because the message of the Bible is counterintuitive to mankind's fallen nature. Without God's Word, no one would know the full truth about God, and without teaching, mankind would remain slow to advance their knowledge of God through His Word. People need the encouragement of others who are more spiritually mature.
Jesus wants His people to be well taught so they can reflect the immense position they have in Jesus Christ. Step #3: Teach!
In Matthew 28:20, Jesus indicated that this commission will continue until "the end of the age." As a church in this age, Calvary Baptist Church is privileged to participate in this task.
We desire to reach the community of Belvidere with the Gospel and to bring those to whom we minister to spiritual maturity (Eph. 4:11–13).
We are excited about this tremendous opportunity! We would love for you to join us in this endeavor as we make disciples and sound forth the Gospel of Jesus Christ!