Dear friends in Christ,
Last Sunday marked my ten-year anniversary serving at Forward Movement. What a wonderful adventure it’s been! I’ve visited many dioceses and congregations, and it has been rewarding to get to know the whole church through my ministry.
Last year, I offered my reflections on nine years of ministry, including some ways I think our church needs to change. This year, I want to highlight just one theme. Discipleship.
When I started at Forward Movement in 2011, I used to get pushback for raising the topic of discipleship. “It’s not our word,” people would say. Fortunately, I can say that now discipleship is our word. Our church has realized the value of naming and practices those disciplines that help us to grow into the full stature of Jesus Christ.
I’d like to think Forward Movement has been a leader in the conversation. We have promised daily prayer and scripture engagement vigorously these last ten years, though that was really a continuation of our mission since 1935. The fruit of this work is evident.
More people are aware of the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ in their lives. More people can make connections between their own life story and the story of God’s saving purposes revealed in scripture. More people have a deeper relationship with God through the nourishing habit of daily prayer.
It’s all about discipleship.
This is literally the thing Jesus told us to do. You can look it up in Matthew 28.
Over the last year, the church has been greatly disrupted. I know this has been a burden on church leaders and members alike. But this time also offers us the opportunity to reexamine our mission and ministry in the church.
Are we effective at making disciples? Do we need to add new ministries? Do we need to let some things go? Do we need to reinvent the way we do things? Do we need to focus more on discipleship and less on maintenance?
I don’t have the answers for you or your community. Every place will be different. But I can confidently say that the work Jesus has given us in every town, village, and rural area is to make disciples.
Forward Movement will be here with you, ready to offer encouragement and resources to support your ministry.
More from our ministry:
New online course from ChurchNext: Walking the Labyrinth, with Mel Soriano
Reading suggestion: The Path: A Journey Through the Bible