Dear Christy and Curtis
I’m pleased to be invited and pleased to attend on May 11. Please consider this to be my RSVP.
As this is the topic of my 2007 DMin project at Fuller Theological Seminary (http://www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html)my 2008-2012 online class at www.beadisciple.com (https://www.beadisciple.com/blog/a-new-way-of-making-disciples-using-the-left-hand/)
and my attempt to present the online class as an advanced lay servants course (http://www.disciplemaking101.com/). I have very clear and specific answers not only to this question but all the various scholarly footnotes to support my theories.
The DMin project also details a strategy to overcome systemic resistance to change, addressed there to the adoption of new methods of making disciples. But systemic resistance to change is the major problem that we face as a conference and as a denomination, and everything that is commonly known about change not only contradicts the resources I cite, it is guaranteed to fail. So things shift around a bit, but nothing changes.
I’d also like to say that everything I wrote in 2008 is in complete harmony with the current strategic direction of Discipleship Ministries under Junius Dotson (https://www.seeallthepeople.org/)with the emphasis that we need to stop fixing churches and start seeing the people and employ a discipleship pathway. It’s not receiving the attention within our conference that I believe it deserves. It is an excellent foundation for what I believe we would want to be doing within our churches. It isn’t necessary for us to reinvent this wheel.
I would take SeeAllThePeople a step forward to suggest that it is laity, not churches, that make disciples
This is specifically a strategy to fulfill ¶126 of the 2008 Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church: “Every layperson is called to carry out the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20); every layperson is called to be missional.” As the lay
Further, the specific strategy I suggest will be singularly effective in smaller churches which, as Craig Miller said in 2000: The primary evangelistic strategy of the 21st century is the establishment of new faith communities . . . A faith community is created when a worship experience is tied to a discipleship system. A worshiping group without a discipleship system is not a faith community; it is simply a place to worship God. A faith community intentionally creates settings that link worship to discipleship and spiritual formation. (Craig Miller, NextChurch.Now, 6; see also 50-51.) Many small churches are declining because they have become simply a place to worship God. They have a poor, perhaps almost non-existent discipleship system. But if laity began to make disciples by becoming disciple makers, most of these small churches would fit perfectly into the Unstuck Church’s description of the Launch phase. The potential for this was the underlying purpose for the 2007 DMin project, which is entitled “Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization for the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.”
There may or there may not be room for any of these ideas to be a part of the discussion in May, but I’m pleased to be present for the conversation.
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity. And the harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3:17-18