It was a great blessing to be invited to share on the topic of “Helping My Small Church To Grow” at Albion UMC and Salem Grace UMC on the last two Sunday afternoons of January, 2015.
What I shared is based on a simple idea that the church as we know it is twofold. John Wesley created a disciple making movement which flourished within the religious context of the Anglican Church in England. Jesus also created a disciple making movement which flourished within the religious context of early first century Judaism. I like to call these two aspects of church the “right hand” – the traditional church – and the “left hand” – the movement that makes disciples.
This topic is amplified in the blog post here: http://fromthebranches.com/tag/strachen-theorem/
The beauty of the left hand is that it is lay driven … it is about people reaching out through caring relationships to bring others to Christ and help them become disciples, and then later disciple makers. As the Chinese movement known as T4T puts it, “there are two kinds of people in this world: people who need to become disciples, and disciples who need to become disciple makers.” This “hand” makes disciples through relationships … and small churches are as good as large churches at creating healthy, nurturing relationships. The “left hand” approach levels the playing field between the large and small church … because evangelism is what one person does in either setting, multiplied many times.
Changing the right hand so a church can grow can be very expensive in terms of time, energy, work and dollars. Changing the left hand to become more effective costs little or nothing in terms of time, energy, work or dollars … but it is unnatural to us, when we are so used to trying to achieve every goal of the church through institutional means … through an institutional church. This is a major paradigm shift for us – but a change in perception changes everything. And after a breakthrough, everything that was once mystifying is now obvious.
You will find links to the slides used in the presentations here: http://www.disciplewalk.com/PPT_Presentations.html
To download a file, center your mouse pointer on the underlined link … either PDF (for viewing in Adobe Acrobat Reader) or PPT (for PowerPoint slides) – then right click, select “Save Link As” and save to your own computer for viewing later.
The material shared is drawn from the course “Disciple Making 101” which has been taught through the Institute of Discipleship at www.beadisciple.com since 2008. A new online class will begin on the first Monday in Lent, 2015; the cost is $45. For those who prefer to learn the pages of a printed book, a printed “Workbook” version of the course is available here for $12 plus shipping: https://www.createspace.com/3434819. It contains every word of the online course, plus sample answers from real students, and additional material and questions for journaling.
The “Disciple Making 101” course and book are based on ideas from my 2008 Doctor of Ministry project at Fuller Theological Seminary, entitled “Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization for the Illinois Great Rivers Conference – A TRAINING MANUAL/STUDY GUIDE.” The entire project can be downloaded in sections as PDF files for free at the Resources page at www.DiscipleWalk.com. A printed book including additional material on adapting cell church evangelism methods to midwestern United Methodist Churches is available here: https://www.createspace.com/3404881.
(Proceeds from this class and books go to support Liberian Village Pastor’s Salary Support through the IGRC.)