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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
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 http://bit.ly/OhioConferenceCast.