6. Reading #1: The Discipleship System – Craig Kennet Miller:
The primary evangelistic strategy of the 21st century is the establishment of new faith communities that invite people to experience the grace of God through the practice of the Christian spiritual disciplines, through hands-on experiences of mission and ministry, and through the celebration of the Christian life in worship. 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. The primary purpose of this community is to reach out to new people to offer them experience of the grace of God that can transform them into disciples of Christ.
One of the critical steps for turning around an existing congregation is to evaluate and improve its current discipleship system. The way to approach the development of a discipleship system in either case – a new church or an existing congregation – is to ask: ‘What does our faith community need to offer to help a person reach spiritual maturity in the first three years of being a part of the faith community?'”
Reflection Questions: Yes … or … no?
6.1 Is your church “simply a place to worship God”? Is worship the priority?
6.2 Is the primary purpose of your local church “to reach out to new people to offer them experience of the grace of God that can transform them into disciples of Christ”?
6.3 How would your church answer this question: ‘What does our faith community need to offer to help a person reach spiritual maturity in the first three years of being a part of the faith community?’
*Reflection Question 1.2.1:
The photo “Disciple Making 101” is by David Kueker.
Craig Kennet Miller, NextChurch.Now: Creating New Faith Communities (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 2000), 114, 116, 108.
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.