Resources equip for engagement

Two new books help United Methodists engage with God’s world and with their communities.

The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) and the Association of United Methodist Theological Schools announced the release of a new study guide, “Missio Dei and the United States: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness.”
 
The guide, suitable for a six- to eight-week study, is a resource to help readers take stock of Wesleyan heritage and ask how to best participate in God’s mission for the church. The study guide’s premise is that the mission field is ripe for a vital United Methodist witness here and now.
The study guide includes an introduction by Rev. Dr. Kim Cape, general secretary at GBHEM, and chapters from the following United Methodist bishops:
  1. Bishop Scott J. Jones – Engage for a Vibrant Methodist Movement
  2. Bishop J. Michael Lowry – Engage for Such a Time as This
  3. Bishop Grant Hagiya – Engage for the Benefit of the World
  4.  Bishop Bob Farr – Engage with Soul Curiosity
  5. Bishop Hope Morgan Ward – Engage with Strength and Generosity
  6. Bishop Robert C. Schnase – Engage to Multiply Our Witness
  7. Bishop Kenneth H. Carter Jr. – Engage for Generous Orthodoxy, United Methodism, and the Missio Dei in the United States
As the U.S. continues to experience changes that are increasingly rapid and drastic, we, as Christians, believe that God is at work in ways that are obvious and mysterious, to reconcile, redeem, save, and recreate humanity along with all creation. Through grace, we must heed the call and take up our purpose to participate in God’s salvific mission.
“Missio Dei and the United States: Toward a Faithful United Methodist Witness” study guide is available on Cokebury.com and Amazon.com.
Discipleship Ministries (former General Board of Discipleship) is encouraging people to form new relationships that lead to discipleship through the #SeeAllThePeople movement.

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 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 added.

“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.”

“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.

 

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