Each step of the maturational cycle is necessary to develop disciples who make disciples who make disciples.

This entry is part 70 of 118 in the series Diagnosis, Dialogue, Decision: A DMin Project

Evangelical churches seek a salvation event while liturgical churches proclaim a sacramental event.[1] Both are a part of the United Methodist heritage.[2] Jesus and John Wesley also practiced a salvation process of intentional disciple-making, with carefully structured activity by their followers that enhanced the work of God in stages of prevenient grace, justifying grace and sanctifying grace.[3] Each step of the maturational cycle is necessary to develop disciples who make disciples who make disciples; in creation, only the mature fruit can reproduce.[4] Relational disciple-making as taught by Jesus produces generation after generation of disciples making disciples (2 Timothy 2:2). This follows the creation pattern; as children grow up, diverse gifts lead them into diverse careers, but they also naturally form committed partnerships to bear and raise children to maturity. This cyclical process of disciple-making is delineated in the New Testament and summarized in the Great Commission.






[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.

[1]Sacramental events are also understood as “means of grace” and are perceived by some to confer grace. Dunnam states that “Wesley believed that not only is the Lord’s Supper a confirming experience; it is also a converting one.” He then quotes Wesley: “The Lord’s Supper was ordained by God to be a means of conveying to persons either preventing, justifying, or sanctifying grace, according to their particular needs. The persons for whom it was ordained are all who know and feel that they need the grace of God. No fitness is required by a sense of our state of sinfulness and helplessness (Works, I, pp. 279f; Sermons, I, pp. 251-255).” Maxie Dunnam, Going On To Salvation: A Study in the Wesleyan Tradition (Nashville: Discipleship Resources, 1990), 109.

[2]For a discussion of the relationship between sacramentalism and evangelicalism, see Paul S. Sanders, “The Sacraments in Early American Methodism” in Russell E. Richey, Kenneth E. Rowe, and Jean Miller Schmidt, eds., Perspectives On American Methodism: Interpretive Essays (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993), 77-92.

[3]For a further discussion of salvation event and process, see Henry H. Knight, III, “The Transformation of the Human Heart: The Place of Conversion in Wesley’s Theology,” in Conversion in the Wesleyan Tradition, Kenneth J. Collins and John H. Tyson, eds. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2001), 43-55. For a study of the topic in the New Testament, see Richard V. Peace, Conversion in the New Testament: Paul and the Twelve (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 1999). Eddie Gibbs reflects the tension between conversion as an event or a process in ChurchNext: Quantum Changes In How We Do Ministry (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 231.

[4]I have participated in numerous behavioral interviews using the Logan/Ridley process to evaluate Illinois Great Rivers Conference clergy as potential church planters. Cf. Charles Ridley & Robert E. Logan, Training for Selection Interviewing (St. Charles, IL: ChurchSmart Resources, 1998). It was exceedingly rare for this highly evangelistically gifted minority to identify a disciple they had converted who later made a disciple of his or her own.

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