​Mission Network's Work in Progress ensemble visited Open Door Mennonite Church in Jackson, Mississippi. Front row Ann Jacobs, Rhoda Yoder, Stephanie Ivy, Christian Williams, and Sandy Miller. Back row: Lena McMillon, Mark Roth, Lefuran Harvey, Lou Jean and Pastor Horace McMillon.

By Kelsey Hochstetler
Thursday, August 9, 2018

BERLIN, Ohio (Mennonite Mission Network) - Next time you're in church, look at the people around you. Do you see deep friendships? Do you see people who share in their daily struggles and in their spiritual life?

It can be easy to see God is at work through these relationships. But in a culture where church attendance is on the decline, not everyone has this kind of community. 

That's why there's the Missional Discipleship Initiative.

"Developing a discipling culture has to do with face-to-face relationships," said Marvin Lorenzana, the MDI director. "A lot of people don't have experience in making disciples … [The church is] reaping what we have planted," because people aren't investing in relationships.

In an effort to plant more seeds of faith, 37 churches across the United States, Honduras, and Costa Rica are participating in the initiative. Each church has several groups of three people. They meet weekly for Scripture reading, prayer, and support. Each of those leaders are discipled by the pastor. In turn, each pastor is coached by Lorenzana.

"There [is] a great deal of intentionality in the way Jesus went about his work with his disciples," said Horace McMillon. McMillon is an MDI participant and pastor of Open Door Mennonite Church in Jackson, Mississippi. "There simply is no substitute for putting the time in with people desiring to follow Jesus."

Duane Maust recalls someone investing time with him as a young adult. Maust is an MDI participant and pastor from Jubilee Mennonite Church in Meridian, Mississippi. "It's amazing that one person can make that pivotal difference in life. That's what the basis of this class is about, is helping people think about discipling."

Some readily embrace the concept of discipling; others revisit the baggage it brings.

"Brother Marvin helped redeem the concept of discipleship for me, separating it from the cultural supremacy that has often come with it," said McMillon. "How do we become more like Jesus in thought, word and deed? How do we participate in the project of bringing God's universal shalom to the world? How do we equip and empower others to do the same?"

According to Lorenzana, the answer depends on his continual question, "What is your faithful next step?"


For those interested in participating in the Missional Discipleship Initiative as a church, contact Marvin Lorenzana at MarvinL@MennoniteMission.net.

 

 

 

 

“Praise for all his faithful”: Psalm 148 and Pentecosthttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/Praise-for-all-his-faithful-Psalm-148-and-Pentecost“Praise for all his faithful”: Psalm 148 and PentecostAscension precedes Pentecost
Service Adventure from both sideshttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/Service-Adventure-from-both-sidesService Adventure from both sidesService Adventure
Family gives up small-town security to gain wider-world exposurehttps://www.pjsn.org/news/Family-gives-up-small-town-security-to-gain-wider-world-exposureFamily gives up small-town security to gain wider-world exposureSending international workers to Colombia
SOOP participants make former San Antonio placement their permanent homehttps://www.pjsn.org/news/SOOP-participants-make-former-San-Antonio-placement-their-permanent-homeSOOP participants make former San Antonio placement their permanent homeSOOP
Connect with Mennonite Mission Network international workers at MennoCon 2019https://www.pjsn.org/news/Connect-with-Mennonite-Mission-Network-international-workers-at-MennoCon-2019Connect with Mennonite Mission Network international workers at MennoCon 2019Kansas City
Learning to Live by God’s Privilegehttps://www.pjsn.org/blog/Learning-to-Live-by-God’s-PrivilegeLearning to Live by God’s PrivilegeGod's privilege

 

 

https://www.pjsn.org/news/Face-to-face-with-church-decline

​Kelsey Hochstetler is a Marketing associate at Mennonite Mission Network. 

 Related

 

 

SOOP participants make former San Antonio placement their permanent homehttps://www.pjsn.org/news/SOOP-participants-make-former-San-Antonio-placement-their-permanent-homeSOOP participants make former San Antonio placement their permanent home
Connect with Mennonite Mission Network international workers at MennoCon 2019https://www.pjsn.org/news/Connect-with-Mennonite-Mission-Network-international-workers-at-MennoCon-2019Connect with Mennonite Mission Network international workers at MennoCon 2019
SEMILLA leader brings biblical peace witness from Guatemala to Kansashttps://www.pjsn.org/news/SEMILLA-leader-brings-biblical-peace-witness-from-Guatemala-to-KansasSEMILLA leader brings biblical peace witness from Guatemala to Kansas
Sent conference emboldens church planters to heed and hold on to their holy callinghttps://www.pjsn.org/news/Sent-conference-emboldens-church-planters-to-heed-and-hold-on-to-their-holy-callingSent conference emboldens church planters to heed and hold on to their holy calling
Former mission worker, administrator and stewardship leader leaves servant-hearted legacyhttps://www.pjsn.org/news/Former-mission-worker,-administrator-and-stewardship-leader-leaves-servant-hearted-legacyFormer mission worker, administrator and stewardship leader leaves servant-hearted legacy
Meditation and inspiration at SENT 2019https://www.pjsn.org/news/Laughter,-tears-and-truth-telling-at-SENT-2019Meditation and inspiration at SENT 2019
To care for the land is a missionary callinghttps://www.pjsn.org/news/To-care-for-the-land-is-a-missionary-callingTo care for the land is a missionary calling
Church clinic helps community members navigate the jungle of photo ID registrationhttps://www.pjsn.org/news/Church-clinic-helps-community-members-navigate-the-jungle-of-photo-ID-registrationChurch clinic helps community members navigate the jungle of photo ID registration
Bucket list wish brings family together to servehttps://www.pjsn.org/news/Bucket-list-wish-brings-family-together-to-serveBucket list wish brings family together to serve
Women’s literacy grows churches, communitieshttps://www.pjsn.org/news/Women’s-literacy-grows-churches,-communitiesWomen’s literacy grows churches, communities