One of the highlights of Stand Conference is to think more deeply about on topics which unfold implications of the Gospel and applying them to our lives as believers and servants of Christ.
We live in a world where we are not strong on making strong commitments to one another – yet the gospel demands that we do. Every Christian is called to make disciples.
Richard Cutforth is the Senior Pastor at Howick Baptist Church since January 2016, after serving as the Pastor of Papakura Baptist Church for 15 years. Before that he served as Pastor of Levin Baptist Church and helped to plant Flaxmere Baptist Church. Richard has been married to Donelda for 32 years and has had the privilege of discipling hundreds of Christians, including his four sons.
At this year’s NI Conference, Richard will lead a seminar on discipleship. Drawing from 1 Thessalonians and over 30 years of pastoral ministry, he will show how the gospel can equip and empower anyone for a lifetime of discipling others and encouraging them in their love and service of Jesus.
Richard shares a bit more about himself and what he’ll be speaking on below.
1. Briefly share with us how you became a Christian.
Desperate to get my life sorted out, one night I got on my knees and cried out to God for forgiveness and help. In His mercy and grace I was wonderfully saved, freed from my sin and no longer under condemnation. The transforming power of the gospel changed my life and I became a new creation in Christ. The Word of God became alive to me and I knew that I was saved.
2. Why do you think what you’re teaching on is an important topic?
As a young Christian, God in His grace brought this older man alongside me and for three years he invested his life into me, encouraging me in the word and helping me in my walk with God. This encouragement to get to know Jesus through His Word laid a wonderful foundation for years to come. Since then it has been a blessing to see the way God has used people to minister His grace into people’s lives through discipling.
I think it is also very important in our day and age where relationships and commitment to things are often quite shallow. Gospel-centred discipleship demands that our commitment to one another is not to be shallow, but whole-hearted that involves not just imparting information, but our lives.
3. What do you hope will be filling people’s minds and hearts as they walk away from your seminar?
I hope to encourage a passion for disciple-making and secondly that disciple making is not just something we do part time, but it is wholehearted commitment to another person – it is the investing of your life into another – it is gospel centred.
4. Is there any passage of Scripture that sums up what you’ll be sharing?
In 1 Thessalonians 2:8, Paul says –
“So we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”
Paul was not just content to pass on information to those he was discipling – he invested his whole life into them.
5. How has what you’re going to speak on affected your own life?
In two ways, firstly, those who have discipled me have been such a blessing to me and an encouragement in my walk with God – they have held me accountable.
Secondly, I have been encouraged as I have tried to disciple others that I have seen the time and commitment I have made into the lives of others has been worth every bit of time and energy and it has ended up been a tremendous blessing to me.
I often think of those verses in 1 Corinthians 3:10:
“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.”
6. Can you recommend any books, articles, websites, or materials on this topic?
There are many books on discipleship today, and all to a greater or lesser extent are helpful.
A couple of older books are:
- Disciples are made, not born – Walt Henrichsen
- The Master Plan of Evangelism – Robert Coleman
7. What would you say to someone who is trying to decide whether or not to come to STAND conference?
I have been to every Stand conference and each year I think they get better. I particularly like meeting up with like-minded Christians who love the gospel and who are passionate about His Word. The messages are always encouraging. They are messages that enlarge your view of Christ that results in your wanting to know Him more. It is the one conference I will not miss.
Join Richard and others in enlarging your view of Jesus and knowing Him more. For more details and to register for STAND 2016, visit: http://www.standforthegospel.org/conference/stand-2016/.