This post is from Bobby Harrington of Renew.org. He has an important message to share, one so important I am making room for him to share this with my readers here at the blog. I believe discipleship and church planting must be renewed in our church culture in order for us to have a vibrant future in Churches of Christ. Maybe you have never thought much about this but I hope this will start a very important conversation.
From Bobby Harrington,
When it comes to being a church leader, sometimes it feels like a choice between the way we’ve always done it and the way of uncertainty.
It’s a choice that can leave you feeling lonely, like this young minister …
“For some time now I have felt somewhat alone in ministry. Don’t get me wrong, I have great relationships with a lot of different people, but when I look around at many churches they are dying out and greying out. Many of these churches lack a passion for making disciples and seem trapped by destructive legalism. In direct contrast, several of my peers in ministry are leaning into a view of God that is informed by their own vague feelings and impressions rather than by God’s word. It felt like my options in ministry were to captain a sinking ship, or to jump onto to a vessel that is rapidly careening off course. How could these be my only two options?”
If this is how you feel, you are not alone. But let’s first add one more item. Maybe you are also convinced that a focus on Sundays services, itself, is not enough – that great preaching, praise, and programs will no longer cut it. Even if you add in ministering to the poor during the week, it still falls short.
If this viewpoint describes you, we can help.
At the Renew Network…
- Discipleship comes first. We help people like you champion relational discipleship as the core mission of the church. We show how disciple making is the path laid out by Jesus himself both in his model of ministry and in his final command.
- Relationships are vital. We are that band of brothers and sisters – that tribe of disciple making champions – which you long for and need. Renew’s vision is relational collaboration that equips millions of disciples, disciple makers, and church planters among all ethnicities. Notice that last word. We also believe God loves ethnic diversity, so our relationships feature that too.
- Biblical theology matters. You want substance? That’s good. We are convinced that lasting disciple making movements are built on theology that requires disciple making. Dallas Willard put it succinctly: “The Jesus we preach and the gospel we uphold will determine the disciple we get.” The true Gospel calls for a faith that trusts and follows Jesus, gives him ongoing allegiance – it requires a faithful faith.
We can help you make the difference you hunger for in this world!
David Young, Dave Clayton, Rick Oster, Matt Dabbs, and other leaders known to Wineskins have jumped in. They join leaders from other diverse backgrounds such as Ralph Moore, the founder of the Hope Chapel Movement, Shodankeh Johnson the disciple-making movement leader in West Africa whose movement has reached over 700,000 people in 14 years and New Testament scholar Matthew Bates, whose books advocating discipleship are taking the scholarly world by storm. These are just a few of the champions of Renew Network.
We have unity in the midst of diversity because we all hold to 7 values:
- Renewing by God’s Spirit – we believe that God is the author of renewal and he invites us to join him through prayer and fasting for the Holy Spirit’s work of renewal.
- Following God’s Reliable Word – we have a high view of scripture and know that by it we learn the ways of God with lasting clarity and conviction.
- Surrendering to Jesus as Lord and King –Jesus is more than just Savior; he is Lord, and Messiah (King). He calls everyone to salvation (in eternity) and discipleship (in this life).
- Championing Disciple Making – Jesus gave us the perfect model of disciple making and these same principles from the life of Jesus should be utilized as we make disciples today.
- Loving Like Jesus – Jesus showed us the true meaning of love and taught us that sacrificial love is the distinguishing character trait of true disciples.
- Living in Holiness – Jesus lived differently than the world, so his disciples and those in his church will live differently than the world.
- Leading Courageously – Renewal is led by bold and courageous leaders – who make disciples, plant churches and create disciple making movements.
Help us in our mission to renew the teachings of Jesus to fuel disciple making.
Here are 3 ways to get started.
- Renew.org – get involved with our website and newsletter, where you will find practical material for everyday disciples in the form of blogs, videos, audios, book reviews, etc.
- Coaching – consider hiring one of our coaches. We coach church leaders, both men and women, ministers, and elders in disciple making. We help you with practical models and methods that you can start using tomorrow.
- National Gathering – attend our national and regional gatherings to gain further inspiration and vision. We will help you get connected to this great mission and vision and the people championing it.
We live in a time when cultural pressures are forcing us to face numerous difficulties and complexities when it comes to following Jesus. Traditional ways are less and less effective.
It is a lonely, frustrating path without a tribe that knows the way to go. Too many will end up bitter or will just give in or give up and compromise.
The journey focused on disciple making disciples is the best and right path in the 21st century. It is a renewal of the kingdom vision of Jesus and the beauty of the local church, as God intends.
Remember the minister we described in the beginning? After six months with Renew coaching, he wrote the following:
The relationship with my coach and the guys in my group has been one of the most encouraging things I have experienced this year. God showed me there are others who desire vibrant discipleship in a biblical way within the Renew Network. It has proven to be incredibly rewarding being a participant in a group and leading a group toward genuine discipleship.
Join us, as he did!