I have been pondering, with much prayer, what our Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton shared with us during his visit to our district.  He asked us a series of five questions, intermixed with inspirational stories, to stimulate our thinking about making disciples.  He even asked us "What is a Disciple."  The general consensus among those of us gathered, was that it was certainly more than just someone who attends Sunday worship regularly.  Indeed, it is more than just participating in various church activities and ministries.  A disciple is someone who not only desires a closer walk with the Lord, but is also inviting and encouraging others to do the same. 
  The thrust towards disciple making is not a new one... Jesus started it with his great commission to "Go, and make disciples of all nations."  This is why we are a Church... to facilitate the great commission.  I like the sign on the cartoon above that reads EACH ONE BRING ONE SUNDAY.  I believe most of us have brought family and friends over the years to a Sunday worship service.  Some folks stayed, the rest did not stay with us, for various reasons.
   The Bishop also asked us about our Disciple Making Plan, that should begin from the moment someone enters our lives.  Being invitational to a worship service is one thing, but knowing how to invite them along on the journey of becoming a disciple takes training. 
   Our Lay Leadership Team is in the process of learning how to be invitational for a journey, not just to attend a worship service.  Using a "Jesus model," I have invited a group of twelve to be part of the educational journey.  In the course of increasing their personal discipleship, they are also learning how to guide and influence others towards becoming a disciple.  Learning how to share our faith is a big part of what we do... such as praying in a group, taking communion elements to shut-ins, forming teams of disciples, nominating others with spiritual gifts to help take part in the functioning of our church structures; and most importantly, learning how to love others as Jesus loves each of us.
   If you are ever invited to be part of this Lay Leadership Team, I encourage you to accept the invitation.  Learning how to make disciples is the most important part of being a disciple.  Jesus made the comment in John's gospel that people will know you are mine by the love you have for each other. 
   Pray for the turnaround of our churches with new life and hope, the turnaround of our lay and clergy leaders with the life-giving and visionary message of Jesus, and for the revival and turnaround of our own spirit in order to be boldly used to make new disciples of Jesus Christ.  Until next time....
Keep Lookin' Up!