Pastor Jeremiah Clements joined me to discuss how the Community Bible Experience was going at his church. Wesleyans all around the world are reading through the New Testament before Easter as part of the #40daybible movement with Biblica.

A Challenge to the Wesleyan Church

fishingboatsIt’s that time of year again in the Wesleyan Church.  It’s time to fill out year end reports.  Some people don’t like doing them.  Some openly complain about them on Facebook forums.  Many say that we don’t really measure the things that really matter.  I was blessed when I first became a Senior Pastor to have someone give me a spreadsheet to enter weekly and monthly statistics.  This makes year end reporting a breeze so you won’t hear any bashing from me.

One of the things we measure is baptisms.  We measure other things too like church attendance and salvations, but I won’t to speak to the issue of baptisms.  As I’ve been reading through the New Testament as part of the #40daybible Community Bible Experience I see lots of people joining the new movement of Christianity.  

The Wesleyan Gathering

The Wesleyan Gathering 2011

I’m on my way to Jacksonville, Florida for The Gathering.  This event is every 4 years for Wesleyan pastor’s and spouses.  We will be live streaming the Emurgency pre-conference Tuesday at 9 am.  Here’s the tweet:

LIVE feed page for #EMURGENCY Pre-Conf is up – http://bit.ly/EMURGENCY – check it out & add to your favorites! LIVE video starts Jan 4, 9am!  We are hoping to do a LIVE Techology Show sometime this week and get some great interviews.  I’m most excited to see and hear Mark Batterson whose book, In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day, was the inspiration for this site.  On top of all this, it’s 5 days in Florida with my wonderful wife.  This will be the longest we have been away from our kids together…ever.

Converting Converts into Disciples

Matthew 28: 18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”(NIV)

I saw some disturbing statistics this summer that crossed church district and denominational lines.  The number of conversions, baptisms, and new church members did not match in any way shape or form.  Many churches reported dozens of salvations to go along with less than 10 baptisms and new church members.  Luckily, I wasn’t the only person who saw the disparity in these numbers and district and denominational leaders called churches for a renewed commitment on baptisms and making disciples.

I recently read the blog of a controversial pastor who keeps score of the number of people he leads to Christ.  This number has grown to over 3000(according to his blog) while the church he pastors has about 60 attenders.  I have often wondered what happens to these people after he knocks on their door and leads them to Christ.  Still, another pastor(on the complete total opposite end of the spectrum of pastor #1) reports hundreds of salvations in weekly services and their church is known for their large baptisms of hundreds of people at a time and their commitment to evangelism.

I do agree with counting conversions.  I’m not one of those “numbers don’t matter” people, but have we turned people into Convert #972 instead of Disciple of Christ John or Jane Doe.  Will Jesus look out among us and ask,”Ok, who raised your hand to receive me?  Did you repeat what the pastor prayed exactly?  Were you brave enough to walk to the front?”  Do we have churches full of people who are gung ho to serve yet don’t know how to disciple someone?  Being on a parking team or helping take up the offering can be a step towards becoming a disciple of Christ, but it doesn’t mean you are a disciple simply by doing these types of things.

As a pastor, I feel my mission is to make Disciple-Making Disciples.  My end goal isn’t to have people plugged into different ministries so that the church has something to “offer.”  If we aren’t training our people to share their faith-not just their testimony for the purpose of salvations-but for the   reproducing their faith in others then are we really accomplishing the Great Commission?

I am striving now to clearly define what a disciple is for our church.  Our hope is that people will be Rooted in The Word, Relationships, and Service.  We are asking these 3 questions:

1.  Are you growing in knowledge and obedience to God’s Word?

2.  Are your relationships honoring God and helping you become more like Him?

3.  Are you actively serving the church and community?

Any church or pastor who is actively seeking to reach the lost should be commended, but we’ve got to start converting converts into disciples.  What do you think?  Am I completely off base here?

Episode 43-Ways to Improve the Wesleyan Church Part 2 Discipleship Process

775563: A Blueprint for Discipleship: Wesley"s General Rules as a Guide for Christian Living A Blueprint for Discipleship: Wesley’s General Rules as a Guide for Christian Living
By Kevin Watson

Watson offers a concrete and practical approach to Christian discipleship that is distinctly Wesleyan. His approach builds on the foundation of the General Rules-do no harm, do good, and practice spiritual disciplines-combined with the exercise of small-group accountability. Watson shows that John Wesley’s method of discipleship is both simple and profound, and can help you develop a faith that affects every part of your lives.

94725: Lost Art of Disciple Making Lost Art of Disciple Making
By LeRoy Eims

“Every believer in Jesus Christ deserves the opportunity of personal nurture and development,” says LeRoy Eims.

But all too often the opportunity isn’t there. We neglect the young Christian in our whirl of programs, church services and fellowship groups. And we neglect to raise up workers and leaders who can disciple young believers into mature and fruitful Christians.

In simple, practical, and biblical terms, LeRoy Eims revives the lost art of disciple making. He explains:

  • How the early church discipled new Christians
  • How to meet the basic needs of a growing Christian
  • How to spot and train potential workers
  • How to develop mature, godly leaders

“True growth takes time and tears and love and patience,” Eims states. There is no instant maturity. This book examines the growth process in the life of a Christian and considers what nurture and guidance it takes to develop spiritually qualified workers in the church.

915701: A Model For Making Disciples: John Wesley"s Class Meeting A Model For Making Disciples: John Wesley’s Class Meeting
By D. Michael Henderson

This book is a study of John Wesley’s small-group ministry and applies his insights to today’s church.

The Evangelical Revival that swept England in the mid-1700s rode on the tidal wave of small-group discipleship. John Wesley and his Methodist preachers had weekly meetings where parishioners’ spiritual growth could be monitored and encouraged. Dr. Henderson presents the brilliance of this idea and how such groups would benefit ministry today.

Previously published as ISBN 0916035735 John Wesley’s Class Meeting.

561448: A Plain Account of Christian Perfection A Plain Account of Christian Perfection
By John Wesley

Wesley’s emphasis on personal and social holiness is one of the hallmarks of historic Methodism. Widely read among the spiritual writers, he encouraged his followers toward a Christ-centered, experiential sanctification encompassing all of life. His views profoundly affected later evangelicalism and Pentecostalism. 187 pages, hardcover. Hendrickson.

01111: The Works of John Wesley, 7 Volumes: Third Edition The Works of John Wesley, 7 Volumes: Third Edition
By Wesley

The most complete collection available of Wesley’s works! The writings in these volumes include Wesley’s comments on more than 4,000 subjects, hundreds of personal letters, his complete journal, homiletical pointers, scores of addresses, sermon resources, and an extensive subject and Scripture index. Originally published in 14 volumes. 7488 pages total, seven hardcover volumes.