Sunday, January 21, 2007

Making Disciples

This year I have a goal of "Making Disciples" in my congregation. This should not come as any real surprise to any who are in ministry. I suppose it is kinda like a cook saying, "I think this year I am gonna fix me some food."

The United Methodist mission statement is, "To Make Disciples of Jesus Christ."

I feel like I have spent the first two years either putting out fires, addressing issues related to church structure, purposes (including my own), trying to determine the interests and focus of the congregation, or other such vareities of ministerial experience.

The challenge is to listen. In order to determine how to make disciples I am going to have to make a concerted effort to listen; to hear the voice of God for the community; to hear the passions of individuals in the church; to teach others to listen to each other so they can hear confirmation of their call to ministry; and to listen to the complaints about how I do pastoral ministry.

All of this with the understanding that this is what God wants from each of us: to serve the glory of the Kingdom with our gifts and talents as the Holy Spirit has enabled us.

Now, for the additional hard work. While listening I need to be able to address each individual as exactly that, a person who is deserving of his or her own plan for using their talents. There is no "formula" for making disciples, no matter what the church grand poobahs may say. There are some ways to help people discern their passion and how God is calling them, and we may need to find some ways to create that learning environment.

Once a person understands his or her calling we are going to have to work at helping them find their partner in ministry (recognizing first and foremost that the pastor is not the default partner for each person in ministry).

This then makes the need for each person to engage in ministry palpable as they have developed "a prayer, a passion, and a partner". The prayer is first the discernment of God's will. The passion is then tapping into their skills and talents for ministry. The partner is to ensure accountability and success, as the disciples were sent out in twos, just as the disciples of today ought to be sent in pairs.



At February 11, 2007, Anonymous Tom said...

Hi David,
I'm not ready to publish yet! but I am refining a process for making disciples that I believe is Spirit guided. It's like a get a piece at a time and then I think "well of course! That's how it all fits together!
Imagine my surprise when I came upon your article and noticed the same basic steps to the process.
I don't want to bother you with details now (well, yes I do, but I'm trying to be sensitive to the fact that you may have other things to deal with right now in your life!) unless you are interested.
If you are, just e-mail me at I have an old web site I'm trying to update "" but that would give you some flavor from where I'm coming from.
I'm looking at Two 7 to 10 week gatherings for 1 &1/2 hour each with 3 people (Triads) that builds in the ability to Listen to God, Gift and Call Awareness, & Coaching skills so those that learn the process in the first 7 weeks then pass it on to two other in the next 7 weeks. (We learn more by teaching as you know.)
Then, after passing on the basics to two others, they are free to train two more or move on to another Ministry that they have discovered in the 14 to 20 week process.
The e-book title I'm toying with is: Paradigm Lost: Making Disciples that Make Disciples! Blessings, Tom


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