NASHVILLE, Tenn. May 9, 2018 /Discipleship Ministries/ – Congregations and annual conferences across the United Methodist connection, spurred by the #SeeAllThePeople movement, are engaging people in their communities to form new relationships that can lead to discipleship.
New resources from Discipleship Ministries, including a second book and study guide and a third short film, are available to help lay leaders, clergy and conference leaders reach out to new people with intentional discipleship.
“The #SeeAllThePeople movement has captured the spirit of what we are trying to accomplish here in the Tennessee and Memphis conferences,” said Bishop William (Bill) McAlilly of the Nashville Episcopal Area, which includes both annual conferences. “This year we are joining the movement and using #SeeAllThePeople because it lifts the values we hold dear, to intentionally make disciples of Jesus Christ.”
The latest guidebook supporting #SeeAllThePeople, authored by the Rev. Junius B. Dotson, General Secretary (CEO) of Discipleship Ministries, is Engaging Your Community: A Guide to Seeing All the People. The accompanying film and study guide will help leaders facilitate discussions about the book.
The new resources, along with an earlier companion book, Developing an Intentional Discipleship System: A Guide for Congregations, and short films, will be available at annual conference gatherings and online at www.SeeAllThePeople.org.
“Making disciples for Jesus Christ begins with having a heart for all God’s people – even people not personally known to us, people who reject God or reject us, and even our enemies,” Dotson said.
The crucial first step in developing an intentional discipleship pathway is to seek out and engage people outside the church walls, he said.
“Every intentional discipleship system or pathway should include a long and prayerful discussion about those in our community who are not yet here,” Dotson said. “Every church should endeavor to create intentional spaces where the nonreligious and nominally religious, or even those who have rejected the church, might find room to search and explore spirituality and Christianity.”
Building relationships by getting out and engaging the community is key to successful intentional discipleship, Dotson said.
“To varying degrees, churches have moved away from this paradigm and, in a noble attempt to save the church as an institution, have lost sight of the very people we are called to reach,” he said. “One unintended consequence of the church growth movement of the past 25 years is that people simply became numbers on a report. In too many cases, strategic plans focused on filling the sanctuary with the goal of becoming the next nationally known megachurch.”
For too long, The United Methodist Church has looked for a quick fix to help guide discipleship efforts, and it is not working, Dotson said.
“I believe a renewed focus on making disciples will be a better investment of our time, money and resources. Our focus must move away from ‘fixing’ churches, toward making and growing disciples,” Dotson said.
Examples of intentional discipleship that is underway in the connection worldwide are available in both books and online at www.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.
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