New Year's resolutions for Making Disciples of Jesus Christ
Another year means hundreds of new resolutions about diet and exercise; some resolutions we hear about will make us laugh, and some will resonate with us in a different way and will make us weep. As an Evangelist, I thought that a list of “Making Disciples Resolutions” could be meaningful for those of us trying to get in shape spiritually. The list below is for these individuals:
For individual Christ followers who wish to share in Making Disciples:
· Think of 10 people you know (regardless of how close they are to you) who have given you a clear indication they have little or no “faith, worship or Christian community connections.” Write down their names, emails, and phone numbers.
· Commit to pray a minimum of one minute a day over each person on the above list, that they will come to experience God’s amazing love and grace through you and others you know who are Christ followers.
· Get a journal and label it “My GO Journal”
· In your journal, keep a record of your daily prayers for each person on the list. Note how you felt about praying this way and if your heart toward one or more of these persons was changing.
· Make a list in your GO Journal, entitled “Three ways I can become their friend or be a better friend.” Give each of the ten people a page and for each one, list the ways. Of course, they will vary from person to person.
· After completing your “three ways” with each person, set a “completion date" for the top strategy with each person on the respective pages and in your personal calendar.
· Share this with a close friend who is spiritually mature, who could give you prayer support for courage and accountability to follow through on your plans.
· Work your prayer-discerned ministry plans as you move forward on your calendar. Day by day, plan your ministry actions, complete one or more, and then journal about how it went, how you felt, and what you will do differently to strengthen this ministry strategy.
· Meet with your spiritual friend who is supporting you in prayers and share with them how it is going. Do this at least once every two weeks.
· Encourage your spiritual friend to start their own list and work these steps alongside you as you pray for them and help hold them accountable. REPEAT.
Certainly by now we can see the above list of “Disciple Making Resolutions” is a common-sense, simple way to move from ideas to consistent action. God will bless you through this and will use you to make an authentic difference in people's lives.
Perhaps we could also benefit from a similar list of “Making Disciples Resolutions” for Pastors, Leaders and Members of Congregations. Here is the corporate list:
· Resolve as Pastor and Leaders to make comprehensive Prayer Ministry a top priority in your congregation for 2012. Get practical training on how.
· As Pastor, simply ask each Leader in your laity if they would prayerfully consider reaching out to specific families, in order to come to meet them as a new friend or strengthen their existing relationship with them.
· Plan to get this group together for a meeting with some common lists of persons related to the church: a) Those who have joined in the past year, b) Those who are inactive, c) Exited families who are known to have left the church, and d) Return visitors to the worship service who have not joined the church.
· Conduct a “relational draft” with all those who are willing to share in this for a ninety day period of time going forward.
· Get training on how each person (or couple) in the group can intentionally and consistently reach out to the persons or families they feel led to spiritually choose from the master lists.
· Carry out the strategies of outreach which are proven to establish or deepen friendships with those on the master lists.
· Repeat this once a year for period of ninety days, focusing on specific groups decided on by the key leaders of the church.
· Realize that the goal is not to simply learn someone’s name, but to build a true friendship with them, bringing them into a closer relationship with the congregation and eventually seeing them become involved in worship and in ministry.
· Streamline the Leadership of the church, freeing up the Staff and Pastor from the number of administrative meetings they attend each month.
· Replace the meetings with ministries that are proven and effective in making disciples of Jesus Christ. Reduce the overall number of ministries based on the criteria of making disciples of Jesus Christ and growing those who have come in as disciples of Jesus Christ.
These resolutions can bring generational changes in our lives as individuals and as entire congregations. Ministry trumps meetings. Let’s go and make disciples, train disciples, and engage disciples in ministry of making disciples. Let’s go!
Rev. Jim W. Hollis is a General Evangelist of the UMC. He is the founder and Executive Director of Proactive Ministries, a not-for-profit ministry that has provided practical training with hundreds of churches in 42 states across America. You may reach him at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook. Proactive Ministries’ web site is:www.proactive-ministries.org