The 2007 Discipleship Conference became the Launchpad for the PAONL’s new discipleship journey. At that Conference the Church Ministries Department and its leadership team introduced the theme of the “Crisis in Discipleship.” This was a bold statement that reflected our realities, our concerns and our passion. The evidence was overwhelming, yet with faith and determination we set our “face as flint” and began. The journey needed more than an apologetic for our bold claims. But we had clearly stated that if we continue to stray from the foundational and formational nature of discipleship we will always be in crisis. So we began with the restating and reaffirming our core beliefs and values.
Developing a strategy to address the crisis we face requires an “all hands on deck” attitude as well as participation from all levels of leadership. A single report, curriculum, manual, or methodology will not be adequate to address the challenge before us. The discipleship crisis is not just a denominational issue, a local church issue, or a pastoral issue but indeed an issue within all of these levels of leadership.
In the construction of a fence the posts must be inserted before the palings can be installed. Before we add the fine detail of our plan to address discipleship in this fellowship we identified our key posts to support our strategy. Some of the key fence posts in our strategy were identified in our Discipleship Conference 2007: personal discipleship, intentional instruction, authentic community, and the missional church.
If these posts could be reinserted into the soil of our PAONL churches then we would move from simply diagnosing a crisis to obeying the command of discipleship (Matthew 28:19-20).
In moving from CRISIS to RECOVERY it was important to understand there were already positive trends and events in place and we would need to strengthen existing initiatives while simultaneously championing emerging opportunities in our province, parishes, and pastors.