How do we transform in­dividuals into active disci­ples of Jesus Christ? In the past several years, many Ohio Conference congre­gations have worked to­ward this goal by partici­pating in the Missional Discipleship Initiative (MDI). This initiative was first offered by Mennonite Mission Network. A main goal of MDI is making dis­ciples of Jesus Christ who in turn make other disci­ples.

Starting in January Ohio Conference will offer train­ing in MDI to a new cohort of church leaders. This online training, which is open to both pastors and lay leaders, will take place from January through June. Participating church lead­ers will meet online twice a month.

In addition to training leaders, MDI utilizes Missional Disciple­ship Groups in each congrega­tion participating in the pro­gram. Missional Discipleship Groups are three-person small groups which meet face to face each week. Read on to learn about these disciple-making groups:

Missional Discipleship Groups (MDGs)

  • Meet once a week to learn how to walk together as disciples of Jesus
  • Provide the context in which discipleship takes place in an intentional and relational way
  • Focus on accountability, Scripture reading, and pray­er
  • Call participants to pray for others and engage in mis­sion in their own context

Five key questions

Five key questions are used in missional discipleship group meetings each week.

  • Where have you seen God at work this week?
  • What did you hear God say to you this week during your prayer time?
  • What have you learned from the assigned Scripture reading this week?
  • How have you shared the love of Jesus with others this week?
  • Where have you fallen short this week?

Expectations for participants in MDGs

  • Meet once a week (for 8-12 months)
  • Show vulnerability
  • Make sure discipleship is taking place
  • Ensure and protect confi­dentiality
  • Facilitators participate in a monthly resourcing meet­ing

If you are interested in partici­pating in the upcoming MDI training, contact Kevin Himes at pas­

How can MDI affect your church?

If you’re wondering how the Missional Discipleship Initiative would impact your church, read these testimonials from pastors of Ohio Conference congregations:

“I hesitated for a long time before participating in Mennonite Mission Network’s Missional Discipleship Initiative (MDI), telling myself, ‘Here we go. One more thing. When will I find time to do this, and how will forming Missional Discipleship Groups at Salem ever fly when everyone’s already so busy?’ Despite my initial reluctance and skepticism, I’ve completed the training, and Salem has just launched its third Missional Discipleship Group. Laypeople are leading and participating in Bible studies for the first time in a long time, and we’re following Jesus in ways that Sunday morning simply doesn’t allow time for. I highly recommend MDI!”

— Kevin Himes, pastor of Salem Mennonite Church in Kidron

“The MDI has reinvigorated discipleship ministry in our church by creating a vehicle for life-on-life transformation, missional resourcing, and spiritual growth. We have experienced over the past year new vitality and purpose.”

—  Jacob Dodson, pastor of Wooster Mennonite Church

​”The MDI has taken our church back to the basics of discipleship. People are encountering Jesus in powerful ways on a daily and weekly basis. Sometimes it feels familiar. Sometimes it feels totally new!”

—  Corben Boshart, collaborative minister at Zion Mennonite Church in Archbold


Further resources

Note: For more information about Missional Discipleship Groups, see these articles:



The Ohio Conference Cast podcast also includes several episodes about Missional Disci­pleship Groups. You can find podcasts on the Ohio Confer­ence website at