Summary of Insights, Challenges and Experiments from Mission Summit Conversations (June 2013)

  • Insights
    • To make disciples, we must be disciples
    • Discipleship is having conversations and having relationships
    • We need a willingness to experiment and be willing to fail
    • It is cyclical.  If you do it right developing a spiritual life leads to a desire to serve and serving leads to a deeper spiritual life
  • Challenges
    • We need to ask ourselves if we are disciplining anyone one on one
    • Do we really have the eyes to see where God is at work today?
  • Experiments
    • God is showering us with resources, but not always within familiar contexts – in a medical school, with an intergenerational mission trip, and in a group of neighborhood kids who want to do Bible Study after VBS is over.
    • How can we connect non-judgmentally with unreached groups — bikers, prisoners, those who “hate church, but love Jesus?
    • When asked about individual efforts one reported he is from inner city church. Wednesday night crowd was down to 5. So they started bible study via conference call. 80 are participating. Praise God for one church willing to experiment.

Summary of Insights, Challenges and Experiments from the Mission Table (November 2013)

  • Insights
    • Discipleship is about being able to hold conversations about God and express our faith in the context of our everyday life (not limited within the confessions of the  ‘organized church’)
    • Discipleship is more than just knowing the answers. It is being the aroma of Christ and the epistles of Christ.
    • Discipleship is not location (church), programmatic content, or a set of rules. It is a journey to the heart of God. It must include real life application (service) and building relationships with others.
    • If we (as pastors) are honest, we are frustrated.
    • In the ‘church vs discipling community’ debate, we have cognitive dissonance, ecclesiastical dissonance, and soul dissonance. Everyone can sense that something is wrong with the current state of affairs.
  • Challenges
    • If our identity (as pastors and as parishioners) is too tied into tradition it can inhibit our full experience of discipleship.
  • Experiments/Projects
    • It’s about how we define ourselves. Let’s be a discipling community before we worry about being “church.” It means creating a church culture of life-long discipleship. To put it another way: If you make disciples you end up with a church. If you make a church, you don’t necessarily end up with disciples.

Continued Day 2 – Summary (November 2013)

  • Resources
    • We received from Rev. Dr. David L. Nichols his book Following Jesus Discipleship Manual
    • Zombie Church by Tyler Edwards
    • Innovating Discipleship by Mancini, the Campbell Study
    • Works by Greg Oden like Discipleship Essentials
  • Proposed Projects
    • We will schedule a Go To Meeting where we will share our own discipleship stories
    • We will gather successful discipleship stories from our ministry contexts that can be shared with others

Read the full notes:

Mission Summit Conversations:

Mission Table:


Summary of Insights, Challenges and Experiments from the National Leadership Council Meeting (April 2014)


  • Most discipleship discussion are either about doing ministry as the hands and feet of Jesus or learning cognitively. Discipleship must be a synthesis of these two.

Next Steps

  • We need to discover ways to experiment with this synthesis.
  • A number of our regions are pursuing discipleship models – we need to share what is in place now

Views expressed are the sole opinion of conversation participants. They do not express the views of American Baptist Churches USA, or individual American Baptist churches. Conversation notes and summaries are shared to allow American Baptists and friends to easily review and use these Mission Summit Conversations and the Mission Table learnings as they wish.