Pastor John Hare of Cardinal Baptist Church in Caroline County, VA has often described his church as “hungry to grow spiritually and hungry to go missionally.” If you asked anyone at Cardinal, “What is the one question Pastor Hare always asks your church?” they would say, “How do we make disciples who make disciples who make disciples?”
Cardinal Baptist Church has grown to see that everything it does should be centered around making disciples who make disciples. Cardinal members are disciple-making people whom God has placed where they live, work, and play to be used by Him to make disciples of Jesus. As is said at Cardinal, the Gospel is not just a one-time thing that saves us—it is the very lens by which we view everything. It is also the very message that shapes everything about us.
For example, Cardinal is in year two of the Who’s Your One? campaign, challenging each church member to make a disciple by the end of the year. Two ladies took this challenge seriously; while working at Bass Pro Shop, they both began to share the Gospel with a fellow co-worker and kept inviting her to church. The co-worker came to faith in Christ on a Thursday, and her husband came to Christ that Sunday morning!
The church has changed how it does men’s and women’s ministries by shifting towards a discipleship paradigm. While these ministries still meet in large settings, they now have smaller discipleship groups that meet, discuss God’s Word, and pray together. Through this, people have been able to build relationships and find biblical community. These smaller groups have been an easy entry point for people seeking Christ. In fact, the women’s ministry is about to start a discipleship group for new believers, and the men are planning to launch a motorcycle ministry to reach the biker community.
Instead of asking people to come to church to hear the Gospel, outreach often means going to the people to share the Good News. Cardinal hosted a kids’ block party in a local neighborhood and provided a back-to-school bash at a nearby elementary school, where families were engaged in Gospel conversations. Through Cardinal’s food pantry and the giving of Christmas gifts, church members were able to meet people directly and have Gospel conversations with them. In fact, a family who received Christmas gifts from Cardinal Baptist Church decided they would finally come to church!
Another outgrowth catalyst has been an emphasis on making disciples globally. Cardinal is beginning to invest in disciple-making abroad, with the hope of going to Spain in 2024. The vision at Cardinal is to lead a mission trip to a specific people group every year for the next 10 years. Their ultimate goal is for everyone who desires to go on a mission trip to have the opportunity to do so.
Cardinal Baptist Church is indeed “hungry to grow spiritually and hungry to go missionally!” ■