I realize most of us know this one: Jesus organized the Acts 1:8 mission of the church around the business of making disciples. But something I’ve picked up along the way is that many of us who lead the church have never actually been “discipled”, nor do we feel a sense of confidence that we know how to disciple in a way that we can boldly embody and transmit the life of Jesus to another person. Many of us were trained to do church work, but not the work of the church. Jesus showed us that disciple making is done along the way, through relationship(s), and very intentionally. C.S Lewis remarked on the importance of disciple-making when he said, “If the church is not doing this, then all the cathedrals, clergy missions, sermons, even the Bible, are a waste of time.”
Last month I introduced you to the first of four questions we’re asking, as we seek to invest in leaders long term for our family of churches (through the LOC process): “Do you know God?” We’re leaning into this question during our Accreditation Interview before turning someone loose to “pastor” with a License in the Alliance Northwest. It’s a great place to start–do you agree? (see last month's message for more).
The next leadership question we’re asking is: “Do you know how to make a disciple?” Put another way: “Do you have the life and skills that embody how Jesus lived?” As well as: “Do you know how to train and transfer the life of Jesus to another person?”
This question now drives our updated Ordination & Consecration process. The revamped process begins with a 4-day formal assessment (if married we’re asking spouses to attend too). Assessment is designed to help a person identify specific areas of growth for character issues, ministry competencies, and skills. Coming out of Assessment, a candidate receives a personalized ministry development plan that includes discipleship training and mentoring.
The goal is to help our leaders be confident in making disciples the way Jesus modeled for us. Being ordained is a pre-requisite for a lead Pastor to serve within the Alliance family, and men who are being grafted in from other tribes can still have their ordination sustained through the Accreditation Interview. Our first Ordination and Consecration Assessment is scheduled for November 7-10. (For more info contact Lisa Casper.)
Next month I want to begin unpacking the 3rd question driving leadership development in the Alliance Northwest. That question moves beyond Licensing, Ordination and Consecration (LOC) and moves to local church leadership. That question is, “Do we know how to develop a disciple-making culture in our church?"
Courageously following Jesus,
Randy Shaw Field Director, Alliance Northwest