Burgess challenges Alabama Baptists to focus on transforming society by making disciples

By Jennifer Davis Rash
The Alabama Baptist

In his popular tell-it-like-it-is style, syndicated radio host Rick Burgess of “The Rick & Bubba Show” laid his message out plainly — a transformed society begins with making disciples.

Burgess, the featured speaker for the Tuesday evening session, drew the largest crowd of the Nov. 14–15 annual meeting of Alabama Baptists at Whitesburg Baptist Church, Huntsville.

Christian artist Kevin Derryberry served as worship leader alongside the praise team from Westwood Baptist Church, Alabaster.

“If the way we are doing things is the way we should continue it, then I should see a lot more transformed disciples of Jesus Christ who walk like Jesus Christ or at least like His early followers,” Burgess said. “We are not seeing transformed believers.

“If that was enough, then we should see a transformed society and we don’t. So undoubtedly we aren’t doing it right,” he said. “We are not developing disciples of Jesus Christ. I know exactly what it means to believe in Jesus. I was not transformed until I became a disciple of Jesus.”

More than believing

Sharing his personal faith journey as well as a glimpse of the pain endured by his family at the loss of his young son, Bronner, in 2008, Burgess said it is more than merely believing in Jesus.

“I kept getting baptized over and over because I didn’t see transformation, but I had never submitted to the lordship of Jesus Christ,” he said. “I simply believed in Him.”

Still many believers are content with perpetual spiritual infancy, he said. And this means discipleship isn’t taking place because if it were, churches would be developing more spiritually mature believers, he noted.

A serious, committed focus on discipling men is where to start, Burgess said.

“Pastors, are you discipling men in your church? Have you made that your number one priority? … Did God say man is the spiritual leader of his home? Yes or no?

“Based on all the research … men’s ministry is the most important ministry in the church,” he said.

“Men and women are equal heirs but they are not the same,” Burgess said. “If we really believe what we continue to say, it should be paramount that we are discipling men above everything.”

Men are not always cooperative, however, he said.

“It is hard. It sure is. You better believe it is hard.”

But a man who doesn’t know Jesus “is useless in the church,” Burgess added. Spiritual maturity brings discernment with it and the ability to distinguish good from evil, he said.

“Perpetual open sin in the church always stops revival.

“It is blasphemy to think so little of Jesus … that you can comfortably usher in sin in His presence.”

‘Free but it ain’t cheap’

Burgess added, “You may not always live out what you profess but you can’t stop yourself from living out what you really believe.

“Grace is free but it ain’t cheap,” Burgess said. “What will it cost you? Your sin.

“I’ve had some terrible things happen in my life even after following Jesus (but) I’m going to go to bed tonight at peace under the lordship of Jesus Christ.

“I’m a follower of Jesus and it’s not easy. It’s a daily struggle but … I’m not satisfied in being a spiritual baby. I can’t wait to see what He is going to show me next.”