The Oklahoma Conference is refocusing efforts on intentional discipleship systems and pathways in all local churches. District Superintendents (chief missional strategists) are assisting churches in creating opportunities for lay people to become deeply committed followers of Christ. At the beginning of the new quadrennium, our conference Discipleship Ministry Team (equivalent to the Board of Discipleship as defined in The Discipline) met with Jeff Campbell of Discipleship Ministries to orient our team to the principles of intentional discipleship systems. Conference staff members have presented similar workshops in districts and local churches. Regional rural and small membership church training events have been held focusing on H.O.P.E., a discipleship system based on paragraph 122 of The Book of Discipline. H.O.P.E. stands for hospitality, offering Christ, purpose, and engagement. At this year’s session of annual conference, we will honor one church in each district with the One Matters Discipleship Award recognizing turn-around churches making strides in professions of faith and baptisms. Future plans include supporting local churches as they prepare and implement clear and concise discipleship pathways and plans to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. As Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians, “But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.” Churches do, indeed, face many adversaries in the world, but there are also many wide doors for effective ministry opened each and every day. Intentional discipleship systems help followers of Christ lead others through those doors to the feet of Jesus.
Rev. Derrek Belase
Director of Discipleship