In the early stages of the development of Beloved Discipleship, it was clear that Beloved Discipleship needed to be rooted in Beloved community. A concept that while attributed to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. not many know what King’s thoughts were about Beloved Community.
Beloved community is a part of my personal mission statement. It is how I have shaped my ministry for over 20 years and has allowed me to work in ministry both in the church and in the community. To understand the beloved community and the connection to Beloved Discipleship, I share an excerpt from a resource available through the General Commission on Religion and Race (gcorr.org), one of the agencies of the United Methodist Church, titled 25 Traits of Beloved Community written by Dr. Arthuree Wright. To see the full article and the 25 traits go to: https://r-squared.squarespace.com/library/25-traits-of-the-beloved-community.
The vision of Beloved Discipleship lives 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. Beloved Discipleship recognizes the tremendous diversity that is Northern Virginia in our communities and seeks to help develop relevant and contextual ways to reach those who do not look like us, with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
As restrictions are relaxed, and churches begin planning for the future ministry and mission, how prepared will your church be to reach new people, connect with your community and be the beacon of the light of Christ, sharing the gospel of Christ in all you do? If you are not certain you have all the tools necessary to disciple your church and community, consider participating in Beloved Discipleship.
For more information visit https://novaumc.org/beloved-discipleship/. There you will find information and application. The program begins in January 2022. Be sure to check out our 2021 Beloved Discipleship Engagements. These are quarterly opportunities to experience a snippet of what Beloved Discipleship offers and help you think through putting together a team and participating next year.
Dr. King’s beloved community exhibits agape love, which, as the love of God operating in the human heart, seeks to “preserve and create community.” Christ’s mature followers love each other as well as those who persecute or do evil against them. Christians confront hate with love because agape love derives its essence from the cross of Christ, which brings redemptive power. This love does not accept injustice or evil as acceptable. Rather, it loves by way of justice, which ensures equity in access, participation, and flourishing for everyone…
What would The United Methodist Church look like, feel like, and be like if the beloved community became real for us?
What would your local church be like?