All churches share a common mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. This two part mission transforms Jesus’s call to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and ‘Love your neighbor as yourself” into a call to action for the church. How do we live out the call to love God and Neighbor? We make disciples and strive to transform our communities and world.
Making disciples will not happen by accident. It must be the intentional work of each local church. The goal of this process is to help you begin to articulate a clear path of discipleship for people in your congregation.
At baptism we are are initiated into Christian community. Vows are made, either by individuals themselves or by others on their behalf, to be on a journey of discipleship. At each baptism we ask the congregation “Will you nurture one another in the Christian faith and include these persons now before you in your care?” Developing an intentional discipleship system is one of the most important ways a congregation can live out this commitment.
There are common elements that should be part of any discipleship system. This process will walk you through developing each element in a way that best fits your local congregation.
Those elements are:
- A clearly articulated definition of what a disciple is.
- A defined set of core practices expected of all disciples in this community.
- On ramps for new participants to begin a journey of discipleship.
- A system of Wesleyan small groups. (www.umc.org/what-we-believe/wesleys-small-group-model-for-today)
- A system of 1:1 discipleship guides (or triads).
- Local ministries of justice and mercy.
The following resources are provided to get you started. This process anticipates a small team of laity and clergy working together to build your discipleship system. You may structure the timing and frequency of your team meetings however fits your needs best.
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