Letter from Director of Congregational Vitality: Membership to Discipleship


I am in love with Christ and I get to serve him as the Director of Congregational and New Faith Community Vitality.  Vital – is what we all strive to be.  Vital – is how we want our churches to be described.  Vital is what we become when we are in a living in a dynamic relationship with the Lord, Jesus Christ.

I am so very privileged to travel in the seven districts and to make one-on-one contacts and relationships with dedicated disciples.   On September 1 – 3,  I drove Dr. Phil Maynard to Harlingen (El Valle), Corpus Christi (Coastal Bend) and Gonzales (Crossroads).  He made his life-changing presentation on “From Membership to Discipleship.”  As you remember we gave out 1,500 copies of Dr. Maynard’s book, Shift.  The goal of Phil Maynard is to help congregations back into the game of effective ministry.  The church exists to ‘make disciples,’ not just ‘members.’  So what’s the difference? 

The key distinctions between members and mature disciples are: 

  • Members: Our goal - Get people to join church.  
    Mature Disciples:  Our goal - Create disciples who are increasing in their love of God and neighbor.
  • Members: Church role – Keep the members satisfied. 
    Mature Disciples:  Church role – Provide opportunities and relationships to foster spiritual growth.  
  • Members: Leadership role – Encourage members to be involved in church activities.  
    Mature Disciples:  Leadership role – Encourage disciples to grow in obedience to God and service to others. 
  • Members:  Responsibility for Growth – church assumes primary responsibility for motivating people in their spiritual journey.
    Mature Disciples:  Responsibility – Disciples assume primary responsibility for spiritual growth as the church provides opportunities and encouragement. 

Do you see the difference?

My friends, I witnessed excitement and transformation as Phil Maynard presented these great principles throughout the last three days.   There was great conversation and excitement around each table as he reminded us that a disciple is a follower of Jesus Christ for life. 

A Disciple lives:  a life of Worship!  a life of Hospitality! a life of Opening to Jesus!  a life of Obeying Jesus!  a life of Service!  a life of Generosity!  Congregations, encourage your pastor(s) to be in attendance.  Pastors, encourage your people to come and get all charged up for the sake of the kingdom.

Las Misiones we are coming to you on September 28th at San Antonio, Northern Hills.  Capital we are coming to you on September 29th at Austin, Northwest Hills Hill Country we are coming to you on September 30th at Johnson City, FUMC.   West we are coming to you on October 1st, San Angelo, FUMC.

Phil Maynard will be back in San Antonio to train facilitators on October 5th and 6th.  Each district will be represented in this training and they will come back ready to train coaches to encourage each of our churches in all our districts.  Praise God!

Rev. Bob Allen
Director, Congregational Vitality & New Faith Community Vitality