Yates Visioning Process update
By September 2019, after several months of listening and discernment, the Visioning Leadership Team felt led by the Holy Spirit to focus on three areas in the visioning process: discipleship, community, and worship. In late fall, about 40 people were identified to dig deeper into each of these areas. Instead of our typical committee model, the VLT decided to experiment with a different approach – one with the potential to engage many people and to make quick progress.
On both January 25 and February 22, about 40 people came together for intense and focused workdays. The workdays were structured, and each team used that structure to varying degrees. But by the end of the second workday, all teams had an opportunity to refine and agree upon its purpose, brainstorm and prioritize ideas, and make some progress on their ideas. At the end of the second workday, the teams came together to consider what was needed from the church to move each idea forward.
Over the next four weeks, each team will provide a summary of its work and the next steps. You can read about it on the IMAGINE page of our web site or on printed copies available in the Sunday school classrooms each week.
Week of March 12:
Discipleship Team 2
Reimagining the Who, What, When, Where, How and Why of Discipleship
The Discipleship Team 2 came together for two Saturday visioning work days with the goal of re-imagining how Yates could grow together in Christlikeness in the area of discipleship. Our work group’s goal was to identify an overarching approach, or “framework,” for discipleship in the church.
What do we mean when we say “discipleship?”
The team began by defining Christian discipleship as a process of spiritual formation in which we, ourselves, are being formed in the image of Christ by the gracious working of the Holy Spirit, for the sake of others.
Who is involved in discipleship?
The congregation, its members and all those who are connected to them are part of God’s loving, transforming work of discipleship. Discipleship and disciple-making are at the heart of Jesus’ commission to his followers after his resurrection: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19-20)
How do we make disciples?
The desired approach for discipleship is Biblical, holistic, and intentional by providing discipleship resources, experiences, and opportunities both for individuals and for the gathered church.
The church’s discipleship ministry will give each person the opportunity to build relationships that are authentic, life-giving, committed, safe, honest and vulnerable.
The team holds prayer to be the foundational practice of discipleship and strives to deepen the church’s habits and heart for prayer corporately and personally.
The work day discussions identified three aspects of discipleship necessary to support the process: teaching, modeling and practicing.
· Teaching is accomplished through Sunday school, Bible study small groups, spiritual formation groups, retreats, and seminars. Teaching prepares us for modeling and practicing the spiritual disciplines, traits, and fruit that enables the church and every member of it to become more Christ-like. “…everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.” (Luke 6:40 NIV)
· Modeling is humbly living out the practices of faithful discipleship before one another and in the organizational life of the congregation to provide both encouragement and accountability for the pursuit and practice of Christian discipleship. “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1)
· Practicing is the daily personal and congregational commitment to discipleship whether the church is gathered or scattered, trusting the formative work of the Holy Spirit in all times and in all places. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24)
When will we begin a reimagined discipleship process?
Immediately! Though the formation of a Christian disciple is a life-long process, members of the team are initiating several steps to invest in the vision:
· God was at work in our prayers and conversations. In March, April and May, members of the Discipleship 2 team will offer testimonies in worship to share with the congregation God was at work in our time together.
· The team intends to meet with the other vision workgroup (“Discipleship Team 1”) tasked with discipleship questions in the month of March.
· The team imagined a curriculum of discipleship that introduces the major practices of a disciple’s personal and corporate life. This curriculum is framed by the disciplines named in Richard Foster’s book, Celebration of Discipline (the word “disciple’ is derived from the same root as “discipline”). Foster categorizes the disciplines in three ways: Inward, Outward, and Corporate. Over the next 12 months, the discipleship curriculum will be placed over several ongoing areas of church life, including worship, to locate new ways personal and congregational life might be shaped by Biblical, holistic and intentional teaching, modeling and practice of discipleship. The team will continue to work with the ministers to identify a specific schedule and parameters for each emphasis.
· In addition, the team has proposed a book focused on the practices of prayer for Yates’ 2020 summer book study.
Why invest in discipleship?
Yates seeks to be a growing community alive with Christ, energized to share God’s transforming love. We want to be a church energized to share God’s transforming love by bearing witness to the transformation in our personal lives and in our life together.
Discipleship Team 2 Members: Australia Clay, Lee Cothran, Christopher Ingram, Larry Glover-Wetherington, Linda Mercer, Robbi Muckenfuss, Deedra Nunnally, Stephanie Taylor and Jane Williams.