At the very close of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus tells those who would follow him they are to, “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, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Helping others become and grow as Disciples of Jesus is at the very core of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Over these last several days I have been inspired and encouraged in the work of making Disciples in a new way.
I am currently serving as a mentor to Rev. Daniel Kipp who is the pastor at First UMC in Sabetha, KS through a program of the Great Plains Conference. As a part of that program we were given a grant to do some continuing education work together. The first phase of that was to spend a few days in Orlando, FL this week at the Exponential Conference. Exponential is a movement of people and churches committed to making disciples who make disciples who make disciples. It was a wonderful and inspirational few days.
The theme for this year’s conference was Hero Maker, the idea that as leaders in churches (not just pastors or staff, but all leaders) our calling is not to be the hero, but to be hero makers, to set up other people to have success and to lead in their own ways
(acknowledging, ultimately, that Jesus is the hero, the pioneer and perfector of our faith).
On Wednesday, Daniel and I had lunch with Rev. Roger Ross who is the Director of Congregational Excellence for the Missouri Annual Conference of the UMC. For the last year Roger has been serving as my coach. It was a fun time to share conversation with both someone who is shaping and influencing my ministry and with someone who I’m privileged to mentor.
This spring our church is offering a confirmation experience for 7th and 8th grade students. As a part of that process each of those students has been paired with a mentor in our congregation, someone who is intentionally pouring into them.
I believe there is great value in each of us looking forward to those who can mentor us well as back toward those we can mentor. And so I invite you to ask yourself a couple of questions. Who is mentoring you in faith and life, who are you in relationship with so that you might be shaped and formed in the likeness of Christ? At
the same time, who are you mentoring and pouring into, who are you intentionally seeking to shape and form in the likeness of Christ?
It is great to be back home after an energizing couple of days away and I look forward to being with you in worship on Sunday!