Teaching Series Helps Congregations Develop 21st Century Discipleship

NASHVILLE, Tenn. March 12, 2019 /Discipleship Ministries/ – A new online 3-session video teaching and discussion series to help local congregations develop their own intentional systems for making disciples of Jesus Christ is now available free from Discipleship Ministries.

The resource, available online at elearning.SeeAllThePeople.org, is designed to communicate the basic principles behind #SEEALLTHEPEOPLE, a movement to help people understand what discipleship and evangelism mean in the 21st century. The series includes a downloadable study guide, as well as teaching and discussion videos for each of the three sessions.

The teaching series, See All The People: Discipleship Begins with Relationship, features the Rev. Junius B. Dotson, General Secretary (CEO) of Discipleship Ministries, and the Rev. Jacob Armstrong, pastor of Providence UMC in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, as instructors.

“Making disciples is not just a job of the pastor or the leaders of the church. It, in fact, must become part of the DNA of every follower of Christ and the culture of every church,” Dotson said. “This is what intentional discipleship is all about.”

“Discipleship begins with relationship, and the goal of discipleship is to make disciples of Jesus Christ,” Dotson said. “It’s something we invite people into, God’s story. And that’s not done by going through specific steps in order to get people to ‘become Christians.’ ”

Dotson said there is no magical formula for creating an intentional discipleship system. In fact, the #SEEALLTHEPEOPLE movement began with this question: “What would happen if we stopped fixing churches and started seeing all the people that God has called us to reach?”

“Not just The United Methodist Church, but mainline denominations in general have been in decline for decades. Part of our anxious response to this decline basically is how do we fix this? How do we program our way out of this?” Dotson said. “A lot of times we get fixated on implementing new programs, and we talk about the characteristics of healthy congregations as if they are some kind of checklist.

“I believe we must have a relentless focus on making, growing and maturing disciples. I believe this starts by creating an intentional discipleship system or a pathway for disciples in our churches. Discipleship begins with relationship,” he said.

Armstrong, who planted his church 10 years ago in the Nashville suburb of Mt. Juliet, has developed an intentional discipleship system with his church leaders to serve their more than 1,500 members.

“We see that the best thing we can do is come alongside those people in our community who are already serving, like the principals and the guidance counselors in our schools or the people in the feeding agency,” Armstrong said. “Then folks in our congregation begin to really see the people. Your hearts begin to be moved by what is moving God’s heart there, and then this bigger kind of spiritual shift can happen.”

The video teaching series covers whose job it is to make disciples, how to stop fixing churches and how discipleship begins with relationship.

“I believe we are experiencing one of the most challenging times in the history of the church,” Dotson said. “The roles church leaders and members play has become more important and more urgent.”

To enroll, go to elearning.SeeAllThePeople.org.

The mission of Discipleship Ministries is to support annual conference and local church leaders for their task of equipping world-changing disciples. An agency of The United Methodist Church, Discipleship Ministries is located at 1908 Grand Ave. in Nashville, Tenn. For more information, visit www.UMCdiscipleship.org, the Press Center at www.UMCdiscipleship.org/about/press-center or call the Communications Office at (877) 899-2780, Ext. 1726.