In early October, over 250 Wesleyan pastors and lay leaders from around the Midwest gathered for a sold-out Disciple Making Conference at Trinity Church in Indianapolis. The conference was designed to inspire and equip pastors and lay leaders to build disciple-making churches through a simple discipleship strategy summarized in the book Banding Together, a recent release from Wesleyan Publishing House.
Pastor Jon Wiest, author of Banding Together and conference director, explains, “God has given us a simple strategy for making disciples in our local church setting and we want to pass that along to others. Our desire through launching the book and conference is to mobilize pastors and lay leaders to make and multiply disciples. We are praying for a disciple-making movement to sweep across The Wesleyan Church and beyond.”
The conference format was divided into five main sessions. Mike Colaw, lead pastor of Trinity Church and George Martin, pastor of the Sanctuary Church, kicked things off by speaking to the priority of disciple-making and called participants to make the last words of Jesus their first priority. Wiest, Multiplication pastor at Trinity Church, followed by sharing the process of disciple-making and the simple model put forth in Banding Together.
In the evening, participants gathered for a worship service that included Scripture testimonies, prayer, communion and a time of anointing. The next morning, Ed Love, director of Church Multiplication for The Wesleyan Church, and Wayne Schmidt, General Superintendent of The Wesleyan Church, spoke on the fruit of disciple-making and multiplication. Finally, the conference ended with a panel discussion and presentation by Kim Gladden, director of Discipleship for The Wesleyan Church, as well as a time of commissioning.
A few of the responses to the conference included:
- “God is moving in a BIG way right now. I believe an awakening is happening.”
- “I came to the conference ready to be deployed and felt like this was the kickoff I needed”
- “I love that you made it simple and easy to understand and apply.”
- “When I get home, my first step is to recruit 20 disciple makers to launch this process.”
- “It’s time to act. I plan to enlist a team of disciple makers to lead discipleship groups across our three campuses.”
Conference attendees were given the opportunity to join an online disciple-making cohort or sign up for onsite training to implement discipleship groups in their church.
“Making disciples is the primary calling of every follower of Christ and we want to do our best to equip and mobilize the church toward that mission,” said Wiest. “In Wayne’s presentation, he spoke of unleashing a ‘kingdom force.’ That’s our desire through this book and conference.