A Community of Disciples The Missional Congregation understands that it is primarily a missional community of people being trained and equipped to live among the world as disciples of Jesus. It’s purpose is to carry out God’s gospel mission of the healing and redemption of the world.
Cultural Challenges From 1990 to 2010, those who identified themselves as Christian dropped from 86% to 69%. At present rate of change, most Americans will be non-Christians by the year 2035. While 50% over 45 attend church, only 30% of those under 45 attend. Just 1/3 rd of adults in their 20’s and 30’s claim to be committed Christians. Yet 80% of them claim that religion or spirituality is important in their life.
Making Disciples* 1. Enlist new followers into God’s Kingdom. 2. Train them how to live the Christian life. 3. Equip them and deploy them into service. *Larry Osborne. Sticky Church.
Designing Congregations for a New Century of Mission Post-Christendom Model (Return to ACTS) which is a MISSIONAL model Focus is on DISCIPLESHIP (mission of the gospel--Matthew 28) not MEMBERSHIP (maintenance of the institution)
Building Up Disciples Old Paradigm: Creating better members for the church-- to serve the needs of the institution. New Paradigm: Empowering members for ministry in daily life. Focused ministries based on strengths and gifts of the members. (Asset- based ministry.)
“The discipleship model expects the Christian community--through Word and Sacrament-- to transform lives.” --Michael Foss from Power Surge
Tent City and the Story of Phinney Ridge Lutheran Church
Table Reflection Questions 1. Do you think Phinney Ridge was living out its vocational calling of being disciples of Jesus? 2. How were individuals transformed by the congregation’s emphasis on adult faith formation and baptismal living? 3. What evidence can you point to that the larger community was also transformed?
An Apprenticeship Model for For Forming Christian Disciples An Ancient Rite of Church: Preparation for Baptism Spiritual Formation for Adults Baptism/Affirmation of Baptism Means of “making disciples” with focus on baptismal living Renewal of “Priesthood of All Believers” (Martin Luther)
Early Church: Preparing for Baptism 1.A period of discipling new converts in the “way of the faith” leading up to baptism. 2.Included entire households. (Book of Acts) 3.In the first centuries baptism was usually by immersion to symbolize dying and rising with Christ.
Short History of the Catechumenate First 1000+ years: Preparation for Baptism (kicked into high gear after 330 AD) Middle Ages: Church mislaid the ancient catechumenate process as it was assumed most adults were already baptized. Later replaced with confirmation of young adults. Modern Day: Vatican II reclaimed the process in the 60’s and Protestants in the 90’s expanded it to include affirmation of faith.
The Role of the Catechumenate 1. Rather than simply another program it becomes a central tool to carry out the mission of making disciples. 2. A primary means of entry for new Christians and new members into the faith community including affirmers. 3. Rites and rituals that highlight the importance of discipleship in daily life.
1. Come and See: Inquiry (Questions) Rite of Welcome 2. Come and Explore: Exploration/Catechesis Rite of Enrollment 3. Come and Prepare: Getting Ready Rite of Baptism/Affirmation of Baptism 4. Come and Serve: Baptismal Living Rite of Affirmation of Vocation A Journey of Discipleship: 4 Stages
Congregational Guide available from Augsburg Fortress Also CD-ROM with downloadable resources
The Triduum: The Great 3 Days Maundy Thursday—Washing of Feet Good Friday—Focus on the Passion Holy Saturday— The Easter Vigil Baptisms and Affirmation of Baptism
A program demanding more time of already over-extended clergy and parish leaders. A complicated, time-consuming program. Another adult education program. An expensive program demanding “experts” in Scripture or Christian doctrine. An inflexible, prescribed program of study. What the Catechumenate Is Not:
A journey and celebration for those called to the Way of Christ. A natural process of Christian formation developed in early days of the Church that can be adapted to fit any size congregation. “Leaven” for any faith community seeking new members and renewal of current members. Jesus’ way of making & nurturing disciples. What the Catechumenate Is:
An Invitation to Baptismal Living PURPOSE: Welcoming people into a deeper relationship with Jesus and with each other so they can live faithful lives of discipleship in God’s world.
Disciple Making God’s Mission: To heal and bless a troubled world. The Church’s Task: Create disciples of Jesus who live differently and who make a difference in their world.