New Hope UMC

12: Whose Job Is It To Make Disciples?

October 24, 2019

We began a new study from www.seeallthepeople.org, from Discipleship Ministries, an agency of the UMC. The study is led by Rev. Junius Dotson, assisted by Pastor Jacob Armstrong. Rev. Dotson is the CEO of See All The People and Pastor Armstrong leads a 10 year old church that has adopted the principles of intentional discipleship. 

Before getting into Lesson 1, we watched an introduction video and a short movie about Sarah, a story of intentional discipleship at work. Rev. Dotson explains the concept behind the course, suggesting that the goal of "making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world" is still intact, but that perhaps it needs some rethinking as to how we go about it. Intentional Discipleship is the working theory and it is presented in three lessons: Whose Job Is It, Stop Fixing the Church and Relationships.

Here is a quote Dotson uses in the course: "If you wish to build a ship, do not divide the men into teams and send them to the forest to cut wood. Instead, teach them to long for the vast and endless sea." Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Perhaps this is a good thing to remember as we go through this course. The work must include a vision that must be shared and practiced by everyone. Pastor Armstrong has monthly meeting at his church to keep the vision on track. Nothing else is on the agenda during those meetings. 

The job of making disciples, of course, belongs to all of us. It's not the pastor's or that of a committee. Everyone needs to be on board. This takes time obviously but it starts with each individual. The first milestone is following Jesus on purpose - intentionally. This is intentional discipleship. The church enables a deeper experience with God and the individual participates. Commitment to personal discipleship changes the culture of your church, creating a vital faith community.

In the discussion following the lecture video, Pastor Armstrong shared how his church, Providence UMC in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, used intentional discipleship to fulfill its mission through 4 phases. At Providence church, all:

  1. Seek God (worship).
  2. welcome people (invitational lifestyle)
  3. offer Christ (small groups)
  4. serve others (out of spiritual gifts).

These are the core concepts of their vision. How it happens involves much work, but the vision does not change. Align hearts and minds with a shared vision: "to see people who feel disconnected from God and the Church connect with Jesus."