Reflections on how Christians help each other to grow and mature in loving God with all their heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love their neighbor as themselves.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

A Wesleyan Disciple-Making System

Here’s some thoughts that have been running through my mind for a while. I’m interested in identifying the essential “building-blocks” for a “disciple-making system” that is grounded in Wesley theology and spirit. Here’s my first stab at a summary:

A Wesleyan Disciple-Making System

1. The congregation is Christ-centered. The mission and ministry of the community is directed toward forming its members as faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. The congregation’s witness in the community is as a sign-community pointing the way toward the reign of God. This means that in its witness the world sees that the poor find good news, those who were captives and oppressed are set free, and the blind and sick are healed. Love is the ethic and grace is the dynamic of a Christ-centered congregation.

2. The congregation has high expectations for its members and for God. The congregation expects that each member will do his or her best to be faithful to the baptismal covenant. It is also expected that God will keep God’s promises as they are revealed in Scripture and in the Baptismal covenant. Leaders understand that people usually live up to the expectations they are given. If we have very low expectations, people will generally live up to them. Likewise, if people are given high expectations they will strive to live into them.

3. The congregation provides an intentional system designed to provide the means for persons and the congregation to live up to expectations:

A. Well planned and lead worship that is liturgical/sacramental and evangelical in which Christ in all of his offices (prophet, king, and priest) is proclaimed in word and sacrament.
B. Frequent celebration of the Lord’s Supper
C. An interconnected system of small groups for mutual support and accountability for Christian formation. Provide groups that meet people where they are—seekers, new, growing, and mature Christians.
D. Small groups that form and nurture leaders in discipleship.
E. Teaching and practicing the means of grace—both the works of piety and works of mercy are balanced together.
F. Every member is encouraged to participate in a curriculum for Christian initiation and formation.
G. Mission and ministry in and with the local community and the world, especially with poor and marginalized people. This mission and ministry both meets physical and material needs while also sharing the good news of God with them in Jesus Christ in ways that they hear and receive it as good news. This acknowledges that Christians are commanded by Christ to do good to their bodies and to their souls.
H. The congregation’s life and ministry is guided by a rule of life that is shaped by the General Rules or the General Rule of Discipleship. The importance of these Wesleyan rules of life is that they help the community and its members to live and practice a balanced discipleship that is shaped by all the teachings of Jesus and not just those that are attractive or that feel good.

4. Evangelism that is Biblical and invitational. The congregation and its leaders understand that evangelism is the responsibility of the whole people of God. It is not a program or a craft that is delegated to “professionals.” The congregation understands that evangelism is simply witnessing to the good news of God given to the world in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The evangelical task and responsibility is to share the good news of Christ in ways that those who receive it receive it as good news indeed and they desire a relationship with Jesus Christ.


Blogger Samuel said...

I found this infromation interesting, though I found no mention of the Spirit. Just wondering. Also, it is good to know that there are other UM Pastors out there who believe that Discipleship is important (and not just the Manipulative Evangelism that the GBD gives us).

1:15 PM


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