Here is another letter, an encouraging one, from a pastor whose vision has shifted in a missional direction. Used with permission, with slight editing. He’s got a great question, too:
What does a discipleship class look like in a missionally-shaped church? Any thoughts? Now the reason, so it seems to me, that Terry has asked me this question is because most new believers or discipleship classes are shaped in an individual direction. What happens when we shift genuine discipleship in a missional direction?
After 20+ years of pastoral ministry I have felt like I am starting from scratch (I posted yesterday or the day before on the Emerging Christians Letter to Karen — it has been hard and humbling.) I want you to know that you’re being diligently prayed for.
You, and others that the Lord has connected me with have put us in a place where we’ve headed into a slightly different area of ministry. I would guess, on some sort of missional basis that it could seem to be a happening thing — but really, it’s just how the Lord has led. I continue to pastor at Countryside, the Calvary Chapel in Eugene, Oregon. Additionally though, my wife and I opened a pizzeria in our neighborhood several months ago. Business is booming and I know more people in our small town after 10 months of making pizza, than I did in 10-years of pastoring this church. We’re living Jesus humbly in front of these people and are just serving them and being kind — it was the sole purpose of the venture, to just be with the people in our community that we can’t seem to get to. The Lord’s blessing is so evident.
I did have one suggestion for future thinking. Maybe it’s something that you already have some perspective on, or something that might be worthy of consideration for some series in the future. Jesus is again so very new to me … it causes me to wonder, for the body here and those who connect with the Gospel here, what, if any, intensive discipleship might look like. Now, I am specifically putting this in view of something that does not just happen as we go, but something that is very deliberate. Something like this I would have previously called a new believer’s class, or something like that. I can still see some merit in this kind of ministry, even if it isn’t the old formula of the church I grew up in… I just can’t quite picture what it would look like. Anyway, just thinking out loud.
I still hope to find a way to host you in Eugene someday.
May the Lord continue to bless your faithfulness before Him. And the faithfulness of Kris for putting up with it all.
Take care Scot.