2020 Legislation Executive Summary

Discipleship Ministries
(The General Board of Discipleship)

Legislation submitted to the 2020 General Conference


Discipleship Ministries’ vision is “to see a vital and vibrant church on fire to transform the world.” The Agency has recently completed a rigorous three-year process to create a more holistic, integrated and focused approach in assisting United Methodist leaders in their disciple-making efforts. Discipleship Ministries has identified three overarching strategic priorities.

The agency’s three strategic priorities are:

  1. An intentional disciple-making process in every church;
  2. Engagement with people currently outside the church;
  3. Cultivating local (contextual) resources around the globe.

Each of these priorities has clear strategies that articulate how the priority will be achieved. A significant step toward reaching these priorities is to simplify the language in the paragraphs of The Book of Discipline related to Discipleship Ministries (¶ ¶1101-1212). The board believes that by simplifying some of the paragraphs and removing duplication of efforts will be a major step toward reflecting the current reality of the church and the shifting needs of the denomination.

The 20 pieces of legislation submitted to the 2020 General Conference from Discipleship Ministries assists the agency in the adaptive challenge of being “brokers of knowledge and conveners of strategic conversations”. By intentionally living into a wholistic approach to our ministry with church leaders we can better assist the denomination in making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.

Included in the legislation submitted is one petition that largely updates and simplifies the language and structure of the Division on Ministries with Young People. The legislation submitted allows for greater flexibility to serve young people and renames it The Young People’s Connectional Network.

There are also five (5) resolutions submitted from the board.

The challenge for all agencies during this time is to live within the current realities of shrinking financial resources. Therefore, Discipleship Ministries has completed an organizational redesign to simplify its structure and reduce its staff to better align itself with shrinking world-service resources. By doing this, we keep our focus on what we believe is the core focus of our work – helping church leaders make disciples.

The Connectional Table, the body charged with coordinating and evaluating the ministries of the general agencies, lifted up Discipleship Ministries’ efforts as a model of living into the denomination’s current financial reality:

"We celebrate that Discipleship Ministries is ahead of the curve in focusing its ministry for strategic impact. It has reorganized its staff to better focus its mission. This reorganization is having positive budgetary impact and reflects good stewardship and a healthy understanding of the connection’s current financial reality." - CT Allocations Team Report, January 29, 2019.

Discipleship Ministries, through the legislation submitted, is actively moving into a defined future that results in a more flexible organization attuned to the desires of its stakeholders while developing more targeted and higher-impact content to meet the needs of a changing denomination.