Home > Uncategorized > Growing Deep as a United Methodist

Growing Deep as a United Methodist

Michael Spencer, aka the Internet Monk, asked me to respond to the following question:

A person comes to you and says “I want to grow significantly as a Christian in the next year. Using the resources we all share and the specific resources of your tradition, what kind of guidance would you give this person? Be as specific as possible.

In many ways the history of the Methodist movement is richer than its present.  Wesley was an evangelistic preacher who called people to faith in Jesus Christ and not content to leave converts with only faith, he organized them into groups that met regularly, holding each member accountable and taking care of one another.  This is our Wesleyan DNA.  We may have lost some of our evangelistic fervor, but one thing we continue to do well is organize for the sake of discipleship.

If a person came to me and said, “I want to grow significantly as a Christian in the next year”, after I recovered from my initial shock I would guide them in one of several ways.  The first thing I would offer is participation in a Disciple Bible Study.  Disciple is a 32-36 week Bible study through which participants not only learn the Bible, they also get to know one another, pray for one another, and are called to act as disciples as a response to the weekly readings.  In my last church, I saw a man wrestle with the Old Testament prophets and their call to watch out for the widows and orphans.  Through those deep questions, his faith in Christ led him to active roles in caring for widows in the community and orphans in Guatemala.

If the interest or resources were unavailable to get a Disciple class started, I would try to get this person to start a Covenant Discipleship Group or check to see if there was already one in the area this person could get into.  Covenant Discipleship groups encourage participants to be spiritually engaged on a personal level and in a group setting both in works and in piety.  It is a well-rounded program that helps believers grow in many different areas.

If none of these were a possibility, I would take the time to disciple this person one on one in much the same way I was discipled by one of my seminary professors who is also a United Methodist elder.  We would study Scripture together, pray together, and find some way for our growing faith to manifest itself in the service of love in this world.

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  1. November 22, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    I’ve found Maxie Dunnam’s Workbook of Living Prayer and Workbook of Intercessory Prayer to be helpful. I hear good things about Companions in Christ and Christian Believer. I’ve used Steven Manskar’s A Perfect Love with an adult class, enabling them to interact directly with Wesley’s views on the spiritual life.

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