Go, therefore, and make disciples” was Jesus’ final command.
(Matthew 28:19, HCSB)
When Jesus’ final command becomes the first priority in a local church, Jesus will be glorified.
In August of 2013, when Pastor Mike Mueller came to Rock Hill Baptist Church in Stafford, VA as an interim pastor, making disciples was not the priority of this small, rural church. Rock Hill, founded in 1812, was desperate for an under-shepherd who would love and lead the people back to the basics of being a Gospel-centered church. By 2015, God was mending hearts together, the congregation had embraced Pastor Mueller and his leadership, and a call was extended for Mueller to be the senior pastor.
We have witnessed a great deal during our time attending Rock Hill. We now are blessed to have Michael Mueller and his wife, Judy, as our shepherd, leading and directing us [by] God’s Word through hardships and joys. As of late, there have been several answered prayers, and some would be called miracles. We have grown stronger in prayer and faith. ~ Shirley Tolson, member since 1961
Pastor Mueller felt called to lead Rock Hill to prioritize disciple-making. “I began early on to meet with 12 to 15 of the core members of the church,” he recalls. “We began to study and to discuss [the question], ‘What is a disciple?’” They discussed subjects like stewardship, leadership, and how to make changes without tension.
Recently, Rock Hill members completed a three-and-a-half-year DisciplePath course with the goal of “Finishing the Great Commission Through Intentional Disciple-Making.” This discipleship journey allows church members to evaluate which of four stages best describes their current spiritual journey and learn how to grow into the next stage.
I feel that God has truly blessed my life, my family’s life, and the Rock Hill Baptist Church family over the past three years by our willingness to be obedient to Him, following Christ’s example of discipleship and being a disciple-making church. Everyone is encouraged to learn his/her current level of spiritual maturity and to grow spiritually in prayer, studying the Word, witnessing, and fellowship. God uses each of us to reach out and share with others from where each of us is in our individual walk with Him. Some are new in their walk and are still finding out what church is and who/what God is all about. Some have chosen to follow Him and become disciples, and now they are growing in their faith. Some have deepened their relationship with God and are sharing their faith with others (disciple-making). ~ Todd Scroggins, member since 2013
What has God done since RHBC returned to the priority of making disciples?
- Since 2013, weekly Sunday worship attendance has grown from an average of 35 to a high of 86 or more.
- Since 2013, 31 people have professed Christ through baptism and 46 new members have joined the church.
- The church has made an intentional effort to become a welcoming church, partnering with neighboring churches in discipleship efforts and allowing visitors to serve. According to Mueller, Rock Hill is now known in the community as a friendly church.
- Through strong lay leadership, the children’s ministry has grown from 6 to an average of 25–30 children.
- Rock Hill is becoming an Acts 1:8 church, doing missions locally, in North America, and in countries around the world.
- Sunday School has been restructured by affinity groups, and there is a stronger emphasis on accountability.
- One affinity group focuses on equipping leaders to start new groups. Leaders from this group are now training others.
- The church is meeting its budget, and giving is at its highest level in years.
Rock Hill is equipping new teachers and leaders for key positions in the church and looking forward to using the evangelism tool, Bless Every Home, to pray for and reach its community. Due to the building’s limited space, it is now considering starting a second Sunday worship service.
Through disciple-making, God is building the faith of His people as they have seen Him do extraordinary things through prayer. The future of Rock Hill Baptist Church looks bright.
“It is amazing to hear some of the testimonies of how people in the church have been used and touched by God—how many have been able to share their faith with others, having never been comfortable doing it before,” says Todd Scroggins. “I am excited, and I thank God for what He is doing at Rock Hill.”
As Pastor Mike Mueller says, “Most churches are moaning in the shadows of strong, larger churches. Why not disciple who you have?”