Disciple-Making at 35,000 Feet
I type these words on my laptop while travelling somewhere around 500 miles per hour at 35,000 feet in the air. No, I haven’t learned any tricks from our old buddy Clark Kent… I’m currently aboard Southwest Airlines flight #2433, flying from John Wayne Airport to Denver International. Spiritual Growth Elder Dan Krehbiel, Mission Affinity Group Elder Roberta Ramont, and Evangelism Elder Sue Nelson-Brown are also on board.
After landing in Denver, the four of us will pile into a rental car and continue travelling to Estes Park, Colorado, to join other Presbyterian pastors and elders at the fall Elder Leadership Institute retreat. This retreat is one part of Session’s ongoing ELI curriculum, which seeks to train Elders to be not only the “decision makers” of a congregation, but also the spiritual leaders of our church family.
Our involvement in ELI is consistent with our desire to join ECO. As we discussed with Rev. Dr. Tim Fearer in worship last Sunday, the ministry of ECO is “to build flourishing churches that make disciples of Jesus Christ.” We want to be very intentional about making disciples… that is why Good Shepherd exists!
Though we enjoy wonderful fellowship with one another, Good Shepherd does not exist to be a Christian country club. We exist to make disciples of Jesus Christ! As such, it is incumbent upon us that each of our leaders are not only disciples, but also disciple-makers!
ELI leaders put it this way:
The church requires that ruling elders and pastors provide spiritual leadership. When the church began, Jesus appointed the apostles. The apostles then trained elders to carry on the ministry that was started in each place. Today’s church needs ruling elders who can not only set goals, discern needs, manage budgets, and oversee programs: the church needs humble leaders whose lives reflect a growing relationship with God, a working knowledge of Scripture and theology, church history and missional strategies in their desire to glorify God through a transformational church.
In other words, the role of ELI is to equip elders to be disciples who are disciple-makers! Without planning, preparing, and evaluating how we are becoming disciples and how we are making disciples, we unintentionally betray our purpose.
Please pray specifically for Good Shepherd’s leaders, that we be equipped not only as disciples, but as disciple-makers, and that glorify God through a transformational church! Pray that we not only talk about making disciples from the 35,000 foot view, but that we also return to ground level and get to work doing so!