United Methodist congregations are being invited to share stories about how they are “making disciples for the transformation of the world” by offering the H.O.P.E of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life.
The UMC’s Discipleship Ministries agency developed the acronym H.O.P.E. as a reminder of the steps in disciple-making. It is posting submitted stories to celebrate how individuals and congregations make disciples on a new Website, UMCHOPE.org. (View the dramatic video of one church’s story of hope, found on this Webpage.)
“We want to share these stories so people can find their place in God’s story of redemption and restoration,” said Sara Thomas, the agency’s Chief Strategist for Vital Congregations. “When we do, we are sharing the hope first offered to us in Jesus Christ.
[Editor’s note: Please kindly share your disciple-making stories of H.O.P.E. with Eastern PA Conference Communications also, so we can share them with the conference.]
The H.O.P.E. acronym stands for the core process of making disciples, found in paragraph 122 of The Book of Discipline:
“Leaders always need to ask: What does discipleship look like in our local context, and how are we helping people follow Jesus every day?” said Thomas. “H.O.P.E. is one way to remember these essentials.” Congregations can share their disciple-making stories by clicking on the gallery button at UMCHOPE.org and entering text, photos or a YouTube video link.
The UMC’s Finance and Administration agency (GCFA) reports that more than 70 percent of congregations in the United States did not baptize anyone age 13 or older in 2013, and 55 percent did not baptize anyone age 12 and under. Additionally, 50 percent of local churches did not have any professions of faith that year.
Among the many services and resources Discipleship Ministries offers is a spin-off of the popular “Chuck Knows Church” series, titled “The Committee.” This humorous series specifically examines struggles congregations face and how they make disciples. Chuck acts as a referee with committee members as they try to understand what a discipleship system is at their church. To view or download the episode, go to http://chuckknowschurch.com.
This information is from a UMC Discipleship Ministries news release. Learn more about their Christian worship, nurture and leadership resources at www.umcdiscipleship.org.