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It's not about fixing churches. #SeeAllThePeople


September 16, 2019

I love music! Do you? I like all kinds. Music fills my soul and gives me joy.
 
I remember a song from years ago, the disco era in fact, by the Pointer Sisters. The lyrics begin, “I’m so excited. And I just can’t hide it. I’m about to lose control and I think I like it.”
 
Have you been “so excited” about people lately?
 
When we talk about engaging our communities, we have to create a vision to help our people get excited about all of God’s people. Part of the implementation of this vision will involve making our people courageous. It takes courage to get outside our safe church buildings with all our friends and risk engaging new people – people we don’t know. Your job is to help them develop the desire to go out and do it!
 
As you lead your people in their growth as disciples, part of your responsibility is to help them see the transformation that is taking place in their own lives. In healthy discipleship growth, the individual is, in a sense, allowing the Holy Spirit to replace part of himself with the person of Jesus. Not only does his ability to love those whom Jesus loves grow, but the capacity to love grows as well. As love grows, he becomes more able to – and excited about – engaging the community of people outside his own sphere.
 
“Engaging Your Community” is my newest discipleship resource for Discipleship Ministries. I hope you are looking at this one after reading and starting to apply the teachings from the first one: Developing an Intentional Discipleship System: A Guide for Congregations.
 
In this previous book, I talk about the Big Front Porch, a metaphorical intentional space where the nonreligious and nominally religious, or even those who have rejected the church, might find room to search and explore spirituality and Christianity. This Big Front Porch can also be a place where disciples, who are themselves on a journey of spiritual growth and maturity, might be present and aware of God’s prevenient grace moving in their lives and lives of others.
 
Intentional discipleship will always move us outside ourselves, and we will be transformed. We will surely be so excited that we just can’t hide it.
 
Coming next time: People aren’t the how, they’re the why.
 
Praying you will be excited about people,
 
Rev. Junius B. Dotson
General Secretary
Discipleship Ministries
The United Methodist Church

 

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