For the very first time, ministry leaders in West Florida will have the opportunity to participate in a Replicate conference this weekend at First Baptist Church in Chipley.

Replicate Ministries was founded by Robby Gallaty, senior pastor of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville, TN just north of Nashville. According to their website, the ministry exists to equip men and women to be disciples who make disciples. In 2016 Gallaty was tapped to head up an SBC task force to look at how Southern Baptist churches are doing discipleship. At the time, Gallaty shared an anecdote with the Florida Baptist Witness that illustrated the need of Southern Baptist churches to develop a disciple-making process for their congregations. He said while standing at the Replicate Ministries booth at the Southern Baptist Convention several years ago, he informally asked more than 50 pastors if they had a comprehensive strategy for making disciples at their church. Not one of them said yes.

It’s that kind of need that spurred Lewis Miller, West Florida catalyst for the Florida Baptist Convention, to bring the Replicate conference to his region.

“Jesus commands it and the church needs a process in place,” Lewis said. “This conference is for church and lay leaders interested in disciple-making.”

Members of the Replicate Ministries team, including Replicate trainer Tim LaFleur, Replicate Board member, trainer and coach Gus Hernandez, Jr. and Executive Director Chris Swain will be on-hand for this weekend’s conference, leading breakout sessions and helping churches see how they can be more intentional about the disciple-making process.

Bobby Pletcher, minister of education at First Baptist Church Chipley, said this conference is about more than a program – it’s about a process.

“With the decline in attendance, giving and baptisms, it is imperative that we have this conversation now,” he said. “The future of your church and the impact it has on your community and the world is at stake!”

Chris Swain offered these reasons why a church might be interested in attending Replicate. Leaders who come will:

  • Learn how to plan, formulate, and develop a disciple-making culture in your church and its ministries.
  • Study Jesus’ and other historical models for making disciples.
  • Develop a comprehensive plan for raising up leaders in your church.
  • Learn how to navigate issues that arise in your Discipleship Groups.
  • Participate in a Discipleship Group for a first-hand experience.
  • Consider principles and strategies for starting effective discipleship and multiplying mature believers in your context.

Tim Coleman, senior pastor of The Point Church in Pensacola, said he and the student pastor are coming because they are interested in developing their own blueprint for disciple-making.

“We are attending to broaden our discipleship toolbox,” he said. “We are going to primarily focus on the family and student aspect of discipleship.”

Pletcher has a word for those on the fence about attending the Replicate conference:

“If you’re not sure about attending, ask yourself if you’re discipling people effectively at your church. If there is room for improvement, then COME! Are people in your church sharing the Gospel regularly, reading the Bible daily, journaling about what God is saying to them as they read His Word, memorizing scripture every week and praying more fervently? If not, REGISTER! The Replicate team will offer a tried and tested process for multiplying disciples in your context.”

It’s not too late! Registration closes tonight at midnight so if you want to be a part of Replicate, click here to register.

By Nicole Kalil, Florida Baptist Convention, May 2, 2018