Starting last September, a number of men and women in the Cookeville District of the United Methodist Church got together in Beersheba Springs Tennessee to begin a several months long focus group on discipleship, its role in the modern Church, and how the United Methodist Church must approach our lack-luster track record with helping people come to Christ and abide in Him.
This understanding of discipling goes far beyond the paradigm of simply making church members. I don’t give a rodent’s rear-end about making church members. Institutions (even the United Methodist Church) will come and go over the course of history. I am a citizen of The Kingdom of God and my goal is to better the Kingdom as we prepare here on Earth. We, the Church, are The Kingdom on Earth. It is our mission not only to spread Christ’s message to the ends of the world, but to also nourish and nurture the saving grace in those whom the Holy Spirit indwells. The Ministry Academy aims to both recapture old Methodist ways of discipleship and explore new ways to better make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the World.
Today, my wife and I prepare to again meet with this group of pastors, lay-leaders and other people within the district that strive to this cause. In order to survive as both the catholic (universal) Church and the institution that is The United Methodist Church, we much recognize that we are losing the hearts and minds of people worldwide. We must unshackle ourselves from the 1950s institutional Christianity that has decayed over the past generation, and make our case for a more missional faith. Christ lives not in the walls of a fancy building, but rather in the hearts of redeemed men and women who work his Will in the world.