Purpose Driven District.

J. Purpose Driven District. The most widespread paradigm of an American disciple making equipping track is the Forty Days of Purpose from Saddleback Church. It utilizes Ministry Fairs for missional involvement and The Purpose Driven Life as a personal spiritual devotional. The program functions as a cell type, equipping track within a local church and is intended to take place in a context of small groups as an ongoing program of equipping and faith development. The five purposes of the Purpose Driven Life define a pattern for a fully mature, disciple making Christian; they fulfill the four priorities of the cell church.

            A district could easily become a Purpose Driven District and provide an ongoing program of developing church members through the five purposes. A Purpose Driven District would provide quarterly opportunities for Class 101, 201, 301, 401 and SHAPE at district wide events. District organized Ministry Fairs would involve local church members in meeting community needs. More importantly, these events would build connectional relationships among lay leaders across parish boundaries, strengthen connectionalism and restore denominational social capital. The Forty Days of Purpose is evolving to work with groups of churches and could easily be adopted by a District.[1]

[1]Rick Warren commented in 2005 upon the influence of the Forty Days of Purpose as a trend: Ten percent of the churches in America have now done 40 Days of Purpose and that’s just now. We will take another 10 to 15 thousand through it this year, and on and on and on. And there’s a little story of how that got started in churches and then it spread to corporations like Coca-Cola and Ford and Wal-Mart, and they started doing 40 Days of Purpose. And then it spread to all the sports teams. I spoke at the NBA All-Stars this year because all of the teams were doing 40 Days of Purpose. LPGA, NASCAR, most of the baseball teams – when the Red Sox were winning the World Series, they were going through 40 Days of Purpose during the Series. So the story of the 40 Days of Purpose is more than the story of the book. And maybe we can get back to why that touched such a nerve around the world, because The Purpose Driven Life is not just the best-selling book in American history; it’s the best-selling book in about a dozen languages. It’s in about 30 languages right now and that’s why I was at this meeting last night with the Spanish.

                The next phase that you’re going to see is we’re actually doing citywide 40 Days of Purposes. We’ve already done one in Chattanooga; we’re going to do one in Philadelphia this fall with 250 African-American churches. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, “Event Transcript: Myths of the Modern Mega-Church, Monday, May 23, 2005,” The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, http://pewforum.org/events/index.php?EventID=80 (accessed June 15, 2007).Rick Warren conducted a Purpose Driven conference at Yoido Church in 2006. Lillian Kwon, “Rick Warren Kicks Off Purpose Driven Conference in Korea,” Christian Today, July 14, 2006, http://www.christiantoday.com/article/ rick.warren.kicks.off.purpose.driven.conference.in.korea/6928.htm (accessed June 15, 2007).

                Many United Methodist churches have had a good experience with the Forty Days of Purpose as a one time event of renewal but do not implement it as an ongoing paradigm and process of disciple making. An event focus is one way systems embrace change while ensuring that change lasts only for the duration of the event. For more information on the program, see Rick Warren, Forty Days of Purpose, http://www.purposedriven.com/en-US/40DayCampaigns/40DaysOfPurpose/40DOPHOME.htm (accessed June 15, 2007). A Purpose Driven District approach would provide for ongoing, flexible participation.





[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html. In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through CreateSpace.com.

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

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