This quote is from Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Cost of Discipleship. Bonhoeffer, one of the great theologians of the 20th century, was killed in a Nazi Germany concentration camp for working to overthrow the Nazi regime. While his book is a sobering reminder that the work of discipleship is indeed costly, for me it is also a reminder that making disciples is not work we do alone – but it is work. In Matthew 28 it reads, “18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age (emphasis added). We do not have to do the work alone, but …we do have to do the work.
Beloved Discipleship is a discipleship development opportunity to help congregations design and implement a contextually relevant discipleship process and an executable discipleship plan to grow disciples both in the congregation and in the increasingly diverse communities. It is a training experience at the intersection of the mission of Jesus Christ to go into all the world, from our front door and beyond, and make disciples, irrespective of ethnicity, class, culture or background. It is an opportunity to create the beloved community and develop the body of Christ.
On the other side of the pandemic, on the other side of General Conference, on the other side of the political and social challenges we face, the work of the church will be the same, to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The difference is the work is harder, and it is costly. Discipleship is the work of the church, there is no other entity or agency that can make disciples of Jesus Christ. It is challenging work that we do not do alone. We do it alongside the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
If your church is ready to respond to the call of discipleship, go to our BELOVED DISCIPLESHIP page and check out the four workshops offered this year. Each is designed to help churches understand the full scope of what discipleship is so they can either critique or update their current plan or begin the work of creating a new plan by putting together a team to engage with the Beloved Discipleship program in 2022.
For more information, contact Michelle Holmes Chaney (MichelleChaney@vaumc.org).