Highland Park Presbyterian Church is a large congregation in Dallas, Texas. Its mission is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. However, the church lacks a plan to mobilize new members into ministry where they can be fruitful and experience transformation. The discipleship strategy will train mentors to assist new members in taking their next step in discipleship through spiritual disciplines and ministry.
This paper contains three sections. The first section profiles the surrounding communities and the relationship that culture has upon the congregation. Recent traumatic history has shaped its demeanor, and the socioeconomic success of the community influences the mindset of the membership. The denominational influences have devalued spiritual maturity and elevated a club mentality. A false dichotomy between being a Christian and a disciple further diminishes the church. The need for discipleship is at the core of the church and is the church’s purpose as a transformative agent in the world.
The second section describes biblical and theological mandates that serve as the impetus for discipleship and for the new laity to take greater responsibility for ministry and spiritual growth. The paper profiles a maturing disciple, showing how the disciple is actively involved in ministry, which is an exercise in obedience and faith. Discipleship is at the core of the church, requiring change: a surrendering of ourselves to the purposes of God.
The third section provides relational and programmatic application. This final section describes the tasks of the staff and mentors. The pastor’s role will be to cast the vision, to demonstrate discipleship and maturity, and facilitate the staff and mentors in doing the same. The mentors will be trained to come alongside new members, coaching them to involvement in ministry, through the ordinary means of grace and the power of spiritual disciplines. These mentors will be the heart of this discipleship strategy. The relational component from the mentor will ensure follow-up and help new members experience a customized discipleship plan that fosters transformation.
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Bell, L. Nelson II, "Mobilizing New Members to Pursue Discipleship Through Ministry" (2010). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 35.