Disciple Making System revisited

Disciple Making System

Our church has been making disciples through intentional disciple making system. This system has three steps:

1.       Invitation (Come!)

2.       Nurturing (Grow!)

3.       Sending (Go!)

 

1.       Invitation

At this stage, we want to do everything to make people to come to church. Special occasions, small groups, intentional events, and personal debts can be excuses for them to come to church. People come to church mostly by invitation of a trusted friend or family member. Sometimes, people just come. In that case, we may say that they respond to God’s invitation.

Here, “radical hospitality” and “relevant worship” is the most important ministry. We want to make them deeply impressed or moved either by worship or by fellowship. If visitors are disappointed by the quality of worship or by the distance-keeping fellowship, they would not come again. It is important to make meaningful connections with God and with people in our church within a week.

Here are summaries of the invitational ministries.

Small Groups: There are small groups called Christ Care groups. People gather together to share their life stories and faith journey. They pray for each other and celebrate joys and do ministries together.

New Family Team: They identify visitors and arrange the follow up visits to make all the visitors feel comfortable and welcomed.

Evangelism: We invite people to our small groups and public worships and other gatherings. We invite family, friends, and neighbors at least three times a year (Christmas, Easter, and Back to School times.) We use every possible opportunity to invite non-Christians to Jesus.

Worship: Worship is the most important opportunity to make people to come closer to God. We make all the elements in one worship service a consistent invitation of people to God. Music, sermon, announcement, fellowship, prayer, and offering time will be in line with the theme of the Bible.

Good Timers: People get together on Tuesday to have lunch and fellowship. Every time, we invite different guest speakers and share information, joy, and mission. For example, we had one lady who explains the Alzheimer disease and some ways how to prevent it.

Pinochle Groups:  People come and play pinochle together on regular basis.

Bridge Groups: People come and play bridge regularly.

Carol Sing: All our music programs play Christmas carols at the beginning of December. Hundreds of people come and sing along carols. Children have a chance to take picture with Santa Claus also.

UMW Circles: United Methodist Women meet in circles. Different circles meet at different times. They usually do Bible Studies and craft and fellowship.

Thursday Yard Crew: People come to cut grass, trim the garden, and clean up the church campus on Thursday afternoon. They have fellowship from time to time.

2.       Nurturing

At the second stage, we want to grow in relationship with Jesus. Nurturing can be provided through (1) preaching, (2) teaching, and (3) small group sharing. Through preaching, we want to share God’s unconditional love expressed through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  We want them to experience that God’s love is genuine and unconditional. Through teaching, we want to share [1] what the core values are, [2] what the biblical view-points are, and [3] what the biblical visions are (3V).  Through small group sharing, we want to help them to find [1] purpose for their life, [2] plan to realize that purpose, and [3] partners whom they can work with (3P).

Here are programs for nurturing ministries:

Children’s Sunday School: Every Sunday from 10:30 to 11:30 AM when the adults have worship service, children have Sunday School. They learn the basics of Christianity and the Bible.

Youth Sunday School: Youth also have their own Sunday School. They learn the Biblical view point and build up biblical values and vision for their life.

Midweek Program: On Wednesdays, after school, we help children and youth to do their home works and extra- curricular activities. Music, arts, exercise, science and language programs are available.

Small Groups: Disciple Bible Study, Open door Bible Study, Psalms, Christ Care Group, Sunday Bible study, and small groups in their residences are available.

UMW Circles: They are not just fellowship and service groups but also nurturing groups. Often they invite guest speakers to gain new insights and read books together to discuss current issues.

Stephen Ministry: Certified Stephen Ministers are meeting people on one-to-one basis and counsel them. Usually people who go through crisis in their lives ask Stephen Ministers and they build up trust relationship over a year or two.

Christ Care Group Ministry: One of the small groups. Many different groups meet on different times and at different places to nurture the members spiritually and physically.

3.       Sending

After we nurture disciples, we do not keep them in our church. They should go into the world that God loves so much. When we send them, we do not send them alone. We send them in groups. Small groups will discern collectively the readiness of team members. Because people have been nurtured in partnership with others, they are ready to go with their partners. Before we send them, we have to make their life simple. [1] Simple life demands for us to throw away things that have nothing to do with our mission and ministry purpose. Those disciples who are ready to go can focus on the mission and ministry and forget everything else. Now they are ready to serve others by sharing what they have, in other words, life in Jesus. [2] Serving and [3] sharing life can mean evangelism, intercessory prayer, short and long term mission, offering, service project, making disciples in small groups, caring and visiting people or chairing committee works (3S). Or 3S life can mean leading his or her work area and home with the biblical character and leadership. These are the ones who are at the front line of God’s vision of transforming the world.

Here are some examples of the sending ministries:

Stewardship-Prosperity Team: They are working on how to secure resources to support local and global missions.

Religion and Race: They become advocates for the equal rights of all races and the peaceful living together with all different races.

Homeless mission: We cook and serve homeless people for the Single shelter, family shelter, and combined shelters. From October to April, we have Winter Nights to provide shelter for the homeless in this area in cooperation with other churches in this area. Once a year, we have memorial service for the homeless people who passed away that year.

Meals on Wheels: We deliver meals to the home-bound people when they request the service.

Heifer Project: We raise fund through Bike-A-Ton (about 10 thousand dollars a year) and buy animals for the poor farmers. Ox, Cow, Pig, Ram, Goat, Chicken, etc. will be purchased and delivered to the farmers.

Habitat for Humanity: We build houses for the people in poor area in cooperation with non-profit organization called habitat for humanity.

S.H.A.R.E.S: It is an acronym for Supporting Humanities, Arts, Recreation, Education & Sports in our community. We raise fund through our grocery shopping for local missions this way.

Friends Outside: We buy school supplies for the children whose parents are in justice systems.

Guatemala Medical Mission: Every year, nurses and doctors and other helpers go to Guatemala and serve hundreds of people who need medical treatment.

UMW Circles: They send money, provide volunteers, and work together with other agencies for local and global mission.

Small Groups: Small groups choose their own mission programs and serve the community together.

This (1) Invitation, (2) Nurturing, and (3) Sending cycle is an engine of our church. We move forward on our faith journey as a loving community. When people are ready to go, they start inviting people and nurturing people both in the church and outside the church. So, the next cycle starts. When this cycle is repeated, the circle will be enlarged and deepened. We can call this phenomenon as “numerical and spiritual church growth.” So, church growth is actually a by-product of an intentional disciple making system. May God bless our church’s intentional disciple making system!



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About biblepreacher

United Methodist Church Pastor. My wife, Hysung Hong Lee, is also a UMC pastor and my children are all grown and have their independent life. We have now empty nest. I and my wife are collecting some mission eggs now in that nest!
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