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The purpose of this ministry focus paper was to design an effective model for intentional discipleship at St. James United Methodist Church in Tampa, Florida, that strategically helps individuals to become disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The motivation behind this purpose is that St. James, along with many evangelical Protestant churches, has not been as strategic about fulfilling this mission as it should have been. While church systems are not solely responsible for the spiritual growth of each person, systems produce what they were designed to produce. It was argued that one of the leadership tasks in this church is to create systems and environments where the shaping of Christian disciples can take place in compelling and sustainable ways.
The demographic and psychographic characteristics of the people in the primary ministry area and relevant historical events in the church’s history were considered. Next, a theological understanding of discipleship was developed by reviewing influential literature, examining United Methodist theology and praxis, and studying the biblical theology of discipleship. A clear definition of discipleship was established: A disciple of Jesus Christ is one who chooses to adopt Christ’s way of living as the way of living in this world as demonstrated by loving one another and bearing fruit. It is a person who is committed not only to Jesus’ way of life but having a personal allegiance to Jesus himself, evidenced in living a life of radical hospitality, passionate worship, intentional discipling, risk-taking mission and service, and extravagant generosity. As a result, a model of intentional discipleship was developed using The Methodist Way as a paradigm. This model follows school calendars, has defined starting and ending points, and was implemented across children, youth, and adult ministries so families can participate together.
Content Reader: Craig Kennet Miller, DMin
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Ezra, Steven N., "Developing an Effective Model for Intentional Discipleship at St. James United Methodist Church" (2012). Doctor of Ministry Projects. 62.