Inside and out, this church makes disciples

By Jeff Campbell

Members serve their neighbors
Aldersgate UMC members serve in their community, sharing the love of Christ.

Aldersgate UMC started in 1946 in North Charleston, South Carolina, with a few local families. Today, it’s a vital church of 175 members that is committed to serving its neighbors.

The South Carolina Annual Conference chose Aldersgate as their 2018 One Matters award recipient.

Aldersgate is deliberate about being disciples and making disciples.

Their discipleship efforts have led to outreach such as the creation of “The Gathering,” a Saturday evening service and fellowship meal in cooperation with Enoch Chapel UMC. They provide a “warming/cooling” shelter in response to the need for refuge during extreme temperatures, a ministry in which other local congregations are becoming involved. They have intentionally increased their participation in missions locally and beyond, offering housing space for missional teams who come to the area to work on disaster response and disaster recovery efforts in the community.

Aldersgate is deliberate about being disciples and making disciples.

They created an Aldersgate 101 new member’s class. They invite all those who are interested in membership or who simply want to know more about the church to attend this class. The course highlights core Methodist beliefs, the organization of the church, and what it means to be a disciple at Aldersgate.

Their Disciple Group is a spiritual formation group for those who have been identified as being “hungry” for a deeper walk with God. This class asks for a one-year commitment to a group. It is designed for people interested in taking that next step in their spiritual disciplines, knowledge of the Christian faith, and accountable Christian community.

South carolina pastor erik grayson
Erik Grayson, pastor of Aldersgate UMC in North Charleston, S.C.

The OWLS (Older Wiser Loving Servants) is Aldersgate’s fellowship and service ministry for active retired adults. OWLS offers a variety of activities including social gatherings, spiritually uplifting events, and service projects. OWLS have regular monthly meetings that include a light dinner and games in the social hall. Many OWLS attendees volunteer at the local food bank immediately following.

The Stitch & Pray group is for those with a passion for crochet. This group makes prayer shawls, blankets, scarves, prayer squares, and other items to share with the sick, those in surgery, and those undergoing significant life events. Every gathering has a time of prayer for the needs of the church and community.

Aldersgate’s focus in ministry is simple: to be disciples who make disciples. They accomplish this through weekly worship services, relational and locally focused missions, and through study of God's word in classes and small groups.

The church believes that God has called them to be disciples who follow after him, who are constantly being transformed, and who become fishers of men.

That certainly sounds like discipleship to me.

Keep making disciples,

Rev. Jeff Campbell is the General Secretary of Discipleship Ministries. He comes to this role having led Discipleship Ministries as the Associate General Secretary for Strategic Programming, where he coordinated the work of the agency around three strategic priorities: an Intentional Discipleship System in every church; equipping local churches to engage their communities; and lifting up and creating local, contextual resources globally. Rev. Campbell joined Discipleship Ministries in 2013 as Executive Director of Conference Relationships.