Produced by the Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church to communicate effective principles and practices demonstrated by congregations that are actively making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. These congregations are marked by:
- Clarity around the mission and vision of the congregation.
- Practice of spiritual disciplines, both corporately and individually.
- Nurture of growth in discipleship through mutual support and accountability.
- Cultivation of intentional and mutual relationships with the most vulnerable—the poor, children, the imprisoned, the powerless.
- Consistent concern for inviting people into relationship with Jesus Christ, combined with wise practices for initiating them into the Body of Christ.
- Connectional relationships that facilitate participation in God’s mission of global transformation.
- Shared clergy and lay leadership.
Over 900 churches were nominated, and more than 200 churches participated in an extensive survey. Site visits were done at eleven congregations to gather more information. Through this process the Discipleship Ministries is gathering a rich trove of stories, ideas, trends, and practices that we believe will inform the work of the entire church in significant and meaningful ways as we seek to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
While there is still much to be mined from the Romans 12 congregations, we offer the following preliminary observations based on what we have learned. Romans 12 congregations:
- Look for needs outside of the church, and then they work at ways to meet those needs.
- Experience prayer as foundational to all aspects of congregational life.
- Learn from set-backs and experience God’s presence in the midst of "failures."
- Have a profound trust and respect of pastoral leadership. They have pastors who understand themselves as spiritual leaders, and have a clear understanding of the type and level of leadership needed in specific situations.
- Live out of a sense of abundance, with an expectancy of God’s presence and guidance.
- Have a strong congregational identity and repeatedly articulate the mission and vision of the congregation through a variety of methods.
- Are very intentional in forming and sustaining relationships.
- Are often a center of energy in the community.
- Identify leaders through formal and informal gifts assessment processes and are constantly on the look-out for new leaders to nurture.
- Have leaders, both clergy and laity, who engage in learning and nurturing experiences together as a team. Many have leadership covenants to which they hold one another accountable.
Additional results from the Romans 12 project are being released through a free weekly newsletter. Previous issues of the newsletter can be found by clicking the "Newsletter" tab to the left of this page. For more information or to be placed on the email listing to receive the free newsletter, contact Carol Krau at ckrau@UMCdiscipleship.org.