Trust and Become
The seminar I went to a couple of weekends ago featured presenters from a United Methodist Church in Brunswick called The Chapel. This church is very intentional about discipleship. Their summary statement for their intentional process is trust and become. (If you want to read more about it, you might want to go to The Chapel website.) The idea is that those who do not know Christ come to the church, and are welcomed with open arms. They are invited to enter into Trust - trust of God, trust of the church and trust of each other. Once that trust is developed, the person can transition to being a "partner," which is what many of us call members. Members continue with development through discipleship by becoming - a worshiper, a community and a missionary.
It made me think about the unintentional process that a church might have for discipleship. We say we are welcoming to whoever might come to our church, but I'm not sure we evaluate our welcomeness. We feel welcome, so we assume everyone else feels that way, too. If someone new comes, we hope they stay, and if they join the church, we feel as if we have won a victory. They chose us!
The difference - or at least one of the differences, to me - seems to be the intentionality of the process. Do we expect people to become disciples without nurturing them? Do we have any expectations of members to become anything at all?