The words of a hymn sing through my head as I think of this past year, “Great things He has taught us, great things He has done.” God has taught our Church Multiplication & Discipleship (CMAD) team that we must not slow down with engagement, but instead, work to see a dramatic increase, overcoming the many obstacles and challenges of this pandemic year. As we joined our efforts with his leadership, obstacles and challenges were overcome! AMAZING!!
If you were to walk into the CMAD Division, you would see a large, metal wall hanging that is a constant reminder to our team as we serve the amazing leaders in our churches and districts. We are “Celebrating every time a disciple makes a disciple and a church multiplies itself, until The Wesleyan Church has a transforming presence in every zip code.”
This year as our team strove to elevate the celebration times in seeing lives transformed, we found focusing on our team’s internal guardrails kept us living out God’s Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20) and Greatest Commandment (Matthew 22:37-39).
The first guardrail on our office wall, and in our hearts, was Focused Prayer. We were very aware that apart from God we can do nothing (John 15: 5); but with and through him, we can do all things. (Philippians 4:13).
Realizing this, every morning at 8:20 our CMAD team’s conference call was alive with celebrations, a word from God and prayer requests. If we heard about victories “in the field” or personally, we celebrated it. When we heard of church launches, struggles, workers needed or upcoming events, we asked big of God. We were able to celebrate again and again as God did great things through his answers!
Alignment was an important guardrail that kept us working in the same direction to close the Gospel Gap. Every Tuesday one of our CMAD departments (Discipleship, Multiplication, Next Gen, Hephzibah62:4) sent an email packed full of information, resources, coming cohorts or online events to keep mission alignment our focus.
It was so essential for our team to have a View from the Pew. As church doors closed and online became a reality, shifts and changes had to be made. CMAD deliberately developed big relationships with church leaders through a posture of listening, allowing us to know how to best serve. Jesus developed friendships, asked questions, listened and then ministered. What an example!
During this past year, every CMAD department had cohorts or podcasts, Zoom meetings and one-on-one conversations in an effort to answer some of the situations that leaders and laity were working through.
Diversity — All Hands on Deck has been a guardrail that has guided an advancement in a Kingdom Force — multigenerational, multiethnic, multieconomic, women and men, lay and clergy. Each director on the CMAD team has been very intentional in creating a culture of honor for diverse groups of people — whether as a panelist, a participant or speaker.
In 2021, our Multiethnic Specialist Josmar Trent led a six-week cohort that exemplified a different diverse panel each week discussing the article, “The Wesleyan Church … ‘as it is in heaven.’” How can our Wesleyan churches demonstrate multicultural participation and leadership, celebrate stories from diverse ethnic backgrounds or engage in kingdom action increasing ethnic racial equality in our communities? How can we all be an example for our culture that needs an alternative of itself and not just a reflection of its culture?
Connection Over Create has been witnessed with Next Gen leaders who desperately needed encouragement during this difficult ministry year. Next Gen Director Zach Coffin has poured into the lives of district and local church leaders through cohorts, resources, phone calls and the “breath of fresh spiritual air” FUEL conference.
It has also been fulfilling to join multipliers who are women (now 115 and counting) as they connect for strength, encouragement, prayer times individually and during the monthly Zoom times led by Anita Eastlack, CMAD’s executive director.
Movement Over Model was a continued goal to resource and fuel the movement that is happening in discipleship and multiplication. Kim Gladden, discipleship director, established diverse communities of discipleship catalysts who led monthly cohorts to encourage a discipleship Kingdom Force to be Unleashed. The very practical, user-friendly discipleship app, Apple and Android, was launched. Expressions of holistic discipleship have been witnessed throughout our Wesleyan church family.
Ed Love, multiplication director, continued to lead and motivate a multiplication movement. It is now being seen in the different models and expressions of church starting to emerge. Despite the pandemic, leaders were still motivated to go through the Exponential Multiplication Cohort experience.
The DNA of many churches is to intentionally disciple and multiply. God is doing what only God can do. … and it is great!
The focused guardrail, Invite Everyone, Pursue Strategically, gave a beautiful opportunity to reach out to people, churches and communities to be part of the Kingdom Force. Jodi Lewis, Hephzibah62:4 director, worked tirelessly this year to bring about a new model and vision for the Wesleyan legacy of investing in vulnerable children’s lives. Invitations to be part of momentum building and partnerships helped equip and mobilize churches on a local and hands-on level to care for the most vulnerable children for generations of kingdom impact.
Jesus had guardrails. He taught us his central ministry theme was to disciple, multiply and send out. Our desire is to follow this example to close the Gospel Gap. We are confident God will continue to do great things through a Kingdom Force marching forward, following his leadership.
Rhonda Moore is the executive assistant to Anita Eastlack for the Church Multiplication and Discipleship Division of The Wesleyan Church.