by Bob Whitesel D.Min. Ph.D., 4/25/16.
In partnership with the Exponential East conference, The Wesleyan Church holds an “Ignite” pre-conference sponsored by their Department of Church Multiplication and Discipleship. Here are thoughts gleaned from Jon Wiest (church planter and current church revitalizer):
“We have four congregations plus multiple gatherings (mid-sized group), small groups and accountability groups of 3-4 like Wesley’s band meeting.”
“We have all this information about church organization, but when it comes to discipleship we don’t have a clear answer about ‘How do you do that? What do they do?’ We are changing the way this church thinks about this. Now they think about these steps:
- It starts with the Bible. Everyone reads two chapters a week and then we write down our thoughts. We have a bookmark to remind us about 10-questions (Wesley?) we ask people to answer.
- Three people in a group walk through the bookmark and we share one of the journal entries regarding how God spoke to us this week. Accountability groups recruit individuals to join one of these “discipleship groups.”
- Prayer for the unchurched is part of this. We see discipleship as including evangelism, so that evangelism takes place here. We formerly did an attractional strategy which forced people down from Sunday attendance downward in this process. Our process is upward instead, where they come into this discipleship group and then get involved in bigger fellowship-orientated small groups and gatherings and our four congregations.
This creates a culture of discipleship throughout the organization.”