Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

            The proverbial saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ suggests that a complex task or great achievement takes time and effort and should not be rushed. It takes a long time to do a task properly, and you should not rush it or expect to do it quickly. Rome was and is one of the world’s greatest cities but it was built over thousands of years as it grew from a small settlement to a buzzing metropolis.

We can easily overestimate the importance of building a Roman empire and underestimate the importance of laying another brick. Actually Rome is just the result, the bricks are the system. The system is greater than the goal. Focusing on your habits is more important than worrying about your outcomes. Of course, there’s nothing necessarily impressive about laying a brick. It’s not a fantastic amount of work. It’s not a grand feat of strength or stamina or intelligence. Nobody is going to applaud you for it. But laying a brick every day, year after year is how you build an empire. You don’t have to build everything you want today, but you do have to find a way to lay another brick.

Building a church is not accomplished in a day, a week or a year but over a lifetime. It begins by one visit and then another and another. A church is built as the preacher presents one doctrine after another and preaches one sermon after another. Time, faithfulness and effort are the primary elements in the success of building a church. The longevity of the pastor is one of the most important elements of building a strong church. Longevity in itself does not guarantee church growth but without it is almost certain the church will not reach its potential.

US Navy Seal, Admiral William H. McRaven in an inspiring speech stated, “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. If, by chance, you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made. That you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.”

                If you want to make a difference in reaching the souls of men it will comes through your faithfulness and diligence to do the daily tasks over a long period of time. But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.  — Isaiah 28:13. Don’t procrastinate to do the little tasks that build a church. Start every day with determination to start and build God’s church.


At the end of the twentieth century an important emphasis was made for churches to disciple their converts. Salvation is just the first step. Discipleship was greatly needed and many workshops, seminars, articles and books were provided to help meet this need. The Great Commission in Matthew 28:19 mandates that we make disciples of all nations. However, after looking back on the results there were weaknesses in many of the plans. If the program did not result in producing faithful servants it must be confronted and dealt with accordingly.

            Two of the most obvious shortcomings were:

1. Approaching discipleship as a doctrinal course. Basic Bible doctrines are essential for every new believer. We cannot underestimate the value of learning the truths of the Word of God. However learning the Scripture alone does not produce disciples.

2. Attempting to make disciples through the means of fellowship. Fellowship is important and it will help new people to make friends and feel more comfortable in a new church environment. However, fellowship comes short of the Bible description of discipleship.

            Consider the first century church and the following nineteen centuries. How were new believers discipled then? How were new converts discipled even fifty years ago before much of the new discipleship material was developed? In previous centuries believers were faithful to church services and from the scheduled Bible studies and involvement in the outreach of the church it was enough to strengthen every serious believer. They were discipled without a single discipleship course simply through their involvement and activity in their local church.

            We live in a different day and with it come many unique challenges. I still believe that if a new believer would immediately become faithful to every church service and get involved in a outreach ministry they would develop into a strong mature Christian. But people’s busy schedules many times conflict with the church and often people never get grounded as a result. A ten week Bible course will be helpful and taking someone out to eat or over for dinner will prove to be a blessing but there must be more to true discipleship.

There are certain steps to becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. First, they must be saved. The in-working of the Holy Spirit begins at salvation and growth is impossible without Him. Secondly, people need to be taught. Through Sunday School and the people can learn the basic truths of the Bible necessary to be a disciple. In addition, a one on one Bible study can be very helpful. Thirdly, when people see another godly example of true discipleship they are encouraged to follow their pattern. “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” — 1 Corinthians 11:1. Parents, teachers, pastors and friends can all play an important role in the maturing process. Christians should set a standard of faith and practice by living a spirit filled life. Fourthly, correction plays an important role in the maturing of every Christian. Until believers face persecution and trials they will probably remain weak.  “Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby” — Hebrews 12:11.  Ultimately discipleship comes down to personal responsibility. You can’t make anyone follow Christ; you can only point them to Christ. They must develop the desire to grow in grace and without it all effort is in vain. “So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.”  — Romans 14:12New believers must be discipled but remember there is no such thing as the completion of a single course developing strong believers. When a Christian looks back he is no more worthy to be called a disciple.