Reverend Katie Lance recently joined the Church Multiplication and Discipleship team as the director of Discipleship for The Wesleyan Church (TWC). Rev. Lance will be a resource to districts and local churches in Unleashing movements of disciple making. We thank God for Rev. Lance’s leadership gifts, as she builds on the solid work contributed by Reverend Kim Gladden and the Discipleship Catalyst Team.

The following is a conversation between Dr. Ed Love and Rev. Katie Lance:

Ed: How has God uniquely prepared you for this discipleship role?

Katie: I surrendered my life to Jesus in a three-year-old church plant. I was born with the DNA of multiplication by way of disciple making. Over the course of the last 15 years, I have been a part of six church plants with various models and stages of development. The most recent, I co-planted with my husband, Randy, and served as the lead pastor for five years.

I have experienced the fruit of ministries born from the root and sustenance of evangelism and disciple making. I have also experienced what ministry looks like when evangelism and discipleship are not effectively utilized.

By serving local church pastors and lay leaders in North America through coaching, mentoring and consulting, my eyes have been opened to multiple challenges and hurdles to believers being effectively equipped and mobilized into kingdom action. I love and believe in the church and am excited to continue to serve Christ’s bride through this new role.

Ed: Why are you passionate about discipleship? 

Katie: I am passionate about Jesus! And Jesus is passionate about disciple making! Life boils down to two things: salvation and sanctification. Walking with a pre-believer and helping them step into a relationship with Jesus is AMAZING but that is not where the story ends. Jesus came to bring life and life to the full. Through the Holy Spirit, God continues to sanctify us into the likeness of Christ, and then calls us to GO, make disciples, baptize, and teach new disciples to obey.

There’s nothing better than seeing disciples who make disciple makers to the third, fourth, fifth generations and beyond. When you’ve been a part of a disciple-making movement — it’s addicting! We can’t get around it, in the kingdom of God, here on earth, the only way to grow the church is to begin with evangelism and disciple making and have it deeply woven into the core fabric of every believer and expression of the church.

Ed: What are the bright spots you see in TWC related to the discipleship realm? 

Katie: The bright spot I see comes from a place of darkness. Our world is increasingly divided and isolated, drowning in lies and fear, and desperate for hope. We have the answer — Jesus! The Greatest Commandment, the Great Commission and the promises of God have not changed or faded. We can take spiritual ground when we are united in one Spirit, utilizing every single believer in their gifting and calling by the power of the Holy Spirit. It’s the church living out the Acts 1:8 movement in kingdom fullness: lay and clergy, women and men, multigenerational, multicultural, multiethnic, singles, marrieds … you name it.

Ed: What are the challenges you see in TWC related to the discipleship realm?

Katie: One of the greatest challenges I hear from local church pastors and lay leaders is not a lack of desire for disciple-making movements but a matter of disability. Leaders are hungry but they just don’t know how since there aren’t many North American examples of disciple-making movements. Through coaching, mentoring and listening to leaders across North America, I am discovering many leaders are not sure how to disciple or teach others because they were never discipled in their journey. Too often in the church we are evangelizing into conversion but not developing disciples beyond Sunday morning milk.

Another challenge I see the church wrestling with is the paradigm around how and where discipleship takes place. At times it may be through programmatic class-like structure, but what we see of discipleship relationships in Scripture is mainly life on life, speaking God’s truth into real-time life situations along the way. This is why disciple making is incredibly messy, slow and hard. However, Jesus did it and the early disciples did it, so I believe we can do it if we rely on the Holy Spirit’s empowerment. In our natural power, this is impossible but with God all things are possible. It’s a crockpot life not a microwavable victory. 

Ed: What is the God-sized dream in your heart as you step into the discipleship role?

Katie: I have a God-sized dream of the day when my role is obsolete. Where leaders, women and men of all ethnicities and ages are simultaneously being disciples and discipling others, laboring side by side in all roles of ministry. I see a day where every church has clarity of the call and can articulate how they are intentionally and contextually evangelizing and discipling people in their local context.

I dream of a day where evangelism and disciple making are seen as two sides of the same coin, the currency by which we purchase multiplication. A realization of seeing the paradigm shift from starting church organizations with the hope that disciples are made to making disciple makers until a church is born out of the overflow.

I dream of a day where every disciple is asking, “What is my next YES in obedience to God?” Where every disciple maker is asking, “How can I help every person God places in my life/our church say their next YES to God?”

Ed: How can Wesleyan leaders partner with you?

Katie: First, prayer and fasting. Reaching the lost is a spiritual endeavor. We fight this spiritual battle against an enemy we cannot see with weapons not of this world. As Jesus taught us, we engage and usher in the kingdom of God, first and continuously, through prayer and fasting

Secondly, let’s have some honest conversations. To be able to resource and support our leaders, churches and districts in mobilizing an unmeasurable movement of disciple making, we need to hear from you! What is working in your context and what isn’t? What tools do you have and what are you lacking? What can we celebrate with you and what can we grieve and lament with you?

Thirdly, join me with unrelenting grit. Developing a disciple-making culture is hard, but let’s commit to never giving up. No matter the size and trend of the numbers, no matter how slow the process, no matter how big the chasm of division and isolation, let’s keep going! Let us, as Wesleyans, step into the tension together, committed to learning, unlearning, relearning …  whatever is needed for the sake of spreading the good news of Jesus.