Our new initiative for The United Methodist Church is called #SeeAllThePeople because at Discipleship Ministries, we believe our denomination has been fixing our churches for too long and has neglected seeing all the people Christ has called us to reach.
Discipleship Ministries, as an international agency of the church, is responsible for training, resourcing and networking United Methodist leaders - especially those who work in church revitalization and new church starts ministries.
Our agency is in the midst of shifting priorities to creating resources, events and a discipleship system that emphasizes congregations being in relationship with those outside its walls.
I have been a local church pastor for more than 25 years, and I believe that for too long United Methodists have looked for a quick fix to help guide our discipleship efforts. We have neglected a basic tenet of evangelism: We cannot disciple people that we are not in relationship with.
With best intentions, we have tried to make disciples by tinkering with our worship services, tracking our community demographics and diving deeper into worship attendance metrics. And when those metrics don't provide the answers we seek, we change the metrics.
While these areas are important and necessary elements to a vital congregation, they can often distract us and can even lead us to believe that we can program our way - fix our way - back to vitality.
But we believe it won't work, because discipleship is not a program. It's a way of being in relationship with Christ.
When churches create an intentional discipleship system, they move from "tinkering and fixing" to "relationship and discipleship." And we do this not to fill our pews, but rather to simply show Christ's love to those around us.
Will you join us?
It's simple. Spread the word, share the video at www.SeeAllThePeople.org, and start a conversation using the hashtag #SeeAllThePeople. It can go in whatever direction you want. You can even disagree with us.
Share your stories of how you are in relationship with those around your community. Or, share how you struggle with doing that. Remember to use the hashtag #SeeAllThePeople.
You can also join the movement by visiting www.SeeAllThePeople.org. There is a free discipleship system booklet there for you to use in your congregation and some social media resources.
Let's start a new conversation that looks outward, so we can make disciples for the transformation of the world.
A recognized visionary leader in church revitalization, the Rev. Junius B. Dotson is the General Secretary (chief executive officer) of Discipleship Ministries, an international agency of The United Methodist Church. He began his tenure on July 1, 2016. Prior to his present position, Rev. Dotson was pastor of Saint Mark United Methodist Church in Wichita, Kansas, where he was instrumental in transforming the church into a 3,500-member multi-campus congregation.