The Theology of Discipleship by Lori Crantford, St. Luke’s Director of Communications & Marketing
“Discipleship” is a word that we hear a lot around St. Luke’s these days. But what does it really mean? Here are some possibly helpful insights into discipleship...
First, is it dangerous to be a disciple? If you read the article I penned earlier this year about the origins of Maundy Thursday, you may remember that all but one of the original 12 disciples met with unseemly deaths. While living out your faith can sometimes feel uncomfortable—if not for you, then perhaps for those around you
who do not share the same convictions—it is not likely that you will be stoned to death for being a disciple of Jesus. If you are, however, I promise that we will write about it in an upcoming issue of this publication.
Second, is the wearing of togas involved? While for some we can understand why this would be an attraction, the answer is no. If it turns out I’m wrong about this, I promise that there will be a photo spread in an upcoming issue of this publication.
Third, is discipleship catching? Can I get it from sitting next to someone at church? The good news here is yes—discipleship is definitely contagious. When you embrace discipleship, it pretty much oozes out of your pores. Your excitement about your faith and relationship with God is infectious. There are stories in every issue of this publication about people spreading their discipleship “germs” all over the world.
DISCIPLESHIP, cont’d next page
S T E WA R D S H I P C A M P A I G N
Decision 2013 How do the decisions you make today impact your life and the life of others in the future? During the Decision 2013 Stewardship Campaign, Rev. Rob Fuquay will lead us through the process of understanding how our decisions to live out our faith today carry significance for tomorrow. We will focus on the words in our Identity statement, and you’ll have an opportunity to learn more and get engaged in a ministry fair, and then return your commitment of gifts, presence, prayers and service.
DECISION 2013 SERMON SERIES October 14: “Open” October 21: “Seek” October 28: “Live” November 4: “Share” November 11: “Celebrate” — —
together in ministry everyday
DISCIPLESHIP, cont’d from page
Far better than me trying to explain it all any further, the following “Theology of Discipleship” comes from the United Methodist Church website (www.umc.org), from What Every Teacher Needs to Know about Theology: Theology is not just about God. It is also about us. We live out of our understanding of who we are in relationship to God, to one another, and to the world. The Christian faith is grounded in the love and grace of God, experienced through Jesus Christ, and empowered by the Holy Spirit. The Christian life is our response to God’s love and grace.
There are a variety of ways that we can develop our knowledge of and love of God. These include
• Prayer • Bible study • Worship • Fasting • Conversation with other Christians
John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement, called these practices means of grace. They are means for developing our relationship with God and for experiencing God’s presence in our lives. These practices help us spend time with God, a significant factor in loving God.
The church calls our response to God Christian discipleship. Discipleship focuses on actively following in the footsteps of Jesus. As Christian disciples, we are not passive spectators but energetic participants in God’s activity in the world. Because of what God has done for us, we offer our lives back to God. We order our lives in ways that embody Christ’s ministry in our families, workplaces, communities, and the world.
Loving God When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was, his response was: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment” (MATTHEW 22:37-38. SEE MATTHEW 22:34-40; MARK 12:28-34; AND LUKE 10:25-28.)
These verses about loving God and loving neighbor as ourselves are known as the Great Commandment. Again and again, the Bible teaches us that loving God and loving neighbor are two sides of the same coin. We cannot do one without the other. Check out some of these passages for a glimpse at how prevalent this understanding of Christian discipleship is:
Discipleship is about loving God… It is more than an acknowledgement of God’s existence or a statement of belief regarding God. It is total devotion, head-over-heals-in-love-with adoration. It is the deep desire to know God, to be one with God, and to worship God.
Jesus responded to questions about the most important commandment by quoting the Hebrew Scripture’s admonition to love God with our whole being. (See Deut. 6:4-9 as well as gospel passages listed in the above section.) Then immediately he broadened the meaning of this admonition: “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’” (Mark 12:31).
• Matthew 5:43-48 • Matthew 25:31-46 • Luke 10:25-37 • John 15:12-17 • Romans 12:9-18 • 1 Corinthians 13 • 1 John 4:19-21
together in ministry everyday
Reaching People under 40 while Keeping People over 60—
Being a Church for All Generations by Julia Johnson, Executive Director of Ministries
Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it onto future generations. —GEORGE BERNARD SHAW
Program Team, an elected group of lay persons that work together to collaborate, coordinate and communicate among all the ministry teams under the leadership of chair Marsha Reynolds, began a study and exploration of the book Reaching People under 40 While Keeping People over 60—Being a Church for All Generations as we identified “growing younger” as a challenge in many of the ministry areas of St. Luke’s. Representatives of all ministry areas were invited to a Saturday morning session in January 2012 to learn and dialogue about bridging generations at St. Luke’s (see The Mindset List sidebar for interesting examples of how generations differ). Everyone was challenged to have a small intergenerational dialogue group to meet two or three times during the spring to discuss some personal faith and church questions posed in the book. Each group was to have half of their participants under 40 and half over 60. In May, all of the participants in these 40/60 groups were invited to a dinner to share their experiences and any words of wisdom for church leadership. Some of our summary “We Believe” statements are shared here. A definite consensus is that conversation between over 60s and under 40s must continue for the positive future of the church and, more specifically, St. Luke’s. Several of the ministry areas are planning new small dialogue groups this fall. n
THE MINDSET LIST for the CLASS OF 2016
PROGRAM TEAM LAITY: Sandra Pirkle, UM Women Matt Roop, UM Men Sharon Chambers & Kari Miller, Growth Team Tena Barker, Later@St. Luke’s Team Kay Webb, Member Care Team Marli Howell, Music Team Lori Chambers, Outreach & Mission Team
Each August since 1998, Beloit College has released the Beloit College Mindset List, providing a look at the cultural touchstones that shape the lives of students entering college this fall. The creation of Beloit’s former Public Affairs Director, Ron Nief, and Keefer Professor of the Humanities, Tom McBride, authors of The Mindset Lists of American History: From Typewriters to Text Messages, What Ten Generations of Americans Think Is Normal, it was originally created as a reminder to faculty to be aware of dated references. It quickly became an internationally monitored catalog of the changing worldview of each new college generation. Mindset List websites at themindsetlist. com and Beloit.edu, as well as the Mediasite webcast and their Facebook page receive more than a million visits annually. This year’s entering college class of 2016 was born into cyberspace and they have therefore measured their output in the fundamental particles of life: bits, bytes, and bauds. They have come to political consciousness during a time of increasing doubts
from 40/60 dialogue group GROWTH IN THE DEVELOPMENT of what is already
strong is important to us in order to be mindful of a balance between taking care of who is here while obtaining new members. FAMILIES MUST HAVE OPPORTUNITIES available in all
stages of life. CULTURE OF “WE ARE ALL ONE” even though there
are obvious needs that differ for under 40/over 60, our desires and passions of St. Luke’s seem to be the same.
WE SHOULD CONTINUE to encourage small group
formation. WE WOULD LEARN MORE about these issues from
talking to people who aren’t in church than from those of us who are. WE NEED NEW WAYS to measure our accomplishments/
effectiveness than traditional statistics such as membership numbers, worship attendance, etc. WE SHOULD CHALLENGE each member to personally
invite others to attend St. Luke’s worship/programs/ events and have conversations with others about their faith. MEETINGS AND PROGRAMS should continue for
intergenerational dialogue. WE NEED TO UPGRADE the physical facilities of
the children’s wing, in order to encourage young family growth. WE SHOULD CONTINUE to be an open, inclusive
community that welcomes and guides new members.
about America’s future, and are entering college bombarded by questions about jobs and the value of a college degree. They have never needed an actual airline “ticket,” a set of bound encyclopedias, or Romper Room. Members of this year’s freshman class, most of them born in 1994, are probably the most tribal generation in history and they despise being separated from contact with friends. They prefer to watch television everywhere except on a television, have seen a woman lead the U.S. State Department for most of their lives, and can carry school books—those that are not on their e-Readers—in backpacks that roll.
They have spent much of their lives helping their parents understand that you don’t take pictures on “film” and that CDs and DVDs are not “tapes.” Those parents have been able to review the crime statistics for the colleges their children have applied to and then pop an Aleve as needed. In these students’ lifetimes, with MP3 players and iPods, they seldom listen to the car radio. A quarter of the entering students already have suffered some hearing loss. Since they’ve been born, the United States has measured progress by a 2 percent jump in unemployment and a 16-cent rise in the price of a first class postage stamp.
The class of 2016 was born the year of the professional baseball strike and the last year for NFL football in Los Angeles.
For the complete Mindset List 2016 and prior years, visit www.themindsetlist.com. — —
together in ministry everyday
“You Say Goodbye and I Say Hello...” by Beverly Gallagher, Staff-Parish Relations Committee Member
If you find yourself humming along to the Beatles tune, it’s for good reason, as St. Luke’s has experienced several staff changes during the past several months. We’ve said goodbye to senior pastor Kent Millard and said hello to Rob Fuquay. With the retirement of Bobbi Main-Jackson after years of service, we’ve welcomed Mollie Smith as the new Early Childhood Director for St. Luke’s Weekday programs. We said another goodbye last spring when Jayne Thorne retired from her position as Director of Outreach Ministries. And we welcome…
Rev. Jamalyn Peigh Williamson
Associate Pastor of Children’s Ministries since January , , Jamalyn brought her own brand of energy and enthusiasm to that role. Her leadership in creating a vibrant Children’s Ministry team comprised of staff and lay leaders and adopting the “Orange” curriculum, which emphasizes the family’s role in children’s ministry, has had a positive impact in the growth and development of ministry to children in preschool through fifth grade. Jamalyn’s experience and success, but most importantly, her passion for mission is the perfect combination for this new chapter in her ministry as well as the future of Outreach Ministries.
Dr. Nido Qubein, author, speaker and educator, is quoted as saying, “Change brings opportunity.” And, indeed it does. In the months following Jayne’s retirement, a search committee worked diligently to evaluate the needs of the Outreach/Missions area, they updated the Director’s job description, and interviewed prospective candidates. But without a unanimous agreement on a candidate, it was “back to the drawing board.” As Maria Blake, member of the Staff-Parish Relations Committee and the Outreach Ministries Search Committee, said, “Ultimately someone surfaced whose passion and call to ministry are ideally suited to this position.” That person is Jamalyn Peigh Williamson.
As Jamalyn officially begins her new responsibilities, she said, “One of my favorite quotes is from St. Francis who said, ‘Preach the Gospel. Use words if necessary.’ I have always had a deep love and passion for missions, which was definitely reinforced during the two years Dave and I lived and worked in Fondwa, Haiti. When I read Matthew :, I am reminded that as Christians we are supposed to be active and sharing what Jesus has done in our lives. Does this mean we should be standing on a soap box at the corner of and Meridian like a crazy person, shouting to cars as they pass by? No, but we can be the hands and feet in all that we do. I hope and pray that as we move forward as a church in missions and outreach we will search for ways we can resemble the love and compassion that Christ showed to others, and we’ll use words if necessary.”
Jesus, undeterred, went right ahead and gave his charge: “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day after day, right up to the end of the age.” — :- — —