Discipleship Level 1: Searching
Searching for a more meaningful life. Curious about God.
Where can you meet people who are seeking a more meaningful life? How should you engage with them?
The Media Center recommends these resources to start making new disciples in your church by reaching out to those who are curious about spirituality and searching for a more meaningful life. How can your church show Jesus Christ to these seekers?
The Outsider Interviews
“Seek first to understand,” says author Stephen Covey. “Let the wise also hear and gain in learning, and the discerning acquire skill,” says Proverbs 1:5 (NRSV).
“Only 34% of young outsiders believe that Christians care about them.” — The Outsider Interviews
This book and companion DVD include interviews with young people outside the church in order to understand their impressions of Christian attitudes toward a range of topics. The DVD shows the actual interviews. The book provides the authors’ reflections.
A reading group guide in the back of the book invites participants to evaluate their own interactions with those outside the faith and consider how these interviews could change their perceptions and behaviors. The guide offers discussion questions for each of the nine chapters.
Read the full description of this resource in our online catalog: The Outsider Interviews by Jim Henderson, Todd Hunter, and Craig Spinks; Baker Books, 2010.
The Answer to Bad Religion is Not No Religion
What is it about Christianity that appears bad to people? How can we help them to see what is good about it instead of rejecting religion altogether?
United Methodist Pastor Martin Thielen offers this guide to help Christians understand what outsiders consider to be bad religion (judgment, negativity, arrogance, division, passivity), why no religion is not the answer, and how good religion (love, hope, openness, community, passion) is the answer.
A companion leader’s guide matches chapters in the book to show good religion’s answers to bad religion. Each session features bible study, discussion questions, and guidance on telling a good religion story. There are six sessions total.
Read the full description of this study in our online catalog: The Answer to Bad Religion is Not No Religion: A Guide to Good Religion for Seekers, Skeptics, and Believers by Martin Thielen; Westminster John Knox Press, 2014. Leader’s Guide also available.
Ask: Faith Questions in a Skeptical Age
Seekers are asking the big questions. Do you remember the questions you had about life before Christianity provided the answers? Do you still have some questions? Many people outside the faith have misunderstandings of Christianity’s answers to the big questions of life on topics such as suffering, science, family life, the resurrection, and more. In this 8-session DVD study, United Methodist Bishop Scott J. Jones and his son, Rev. Arthur D. Jones invite a panel of young United Methodist leaders (including Lisa Yebuah of the NC Conference) to discuss these big questions in a way that will help us thoughtfully respond with humble answers.
This DVD, leader guide, and book will prepare you to engage seekers’ big questions with confidence and understanding.
Read the full description in our online catalog: Ask: Faith Questions in a Skeptical Age by Scott J. Jones and Arthur D. Jones; Abingdon Press, 2015. A Leader Guide and DVD are also available.
Taking Church to Community
So, where do you find these seekers to talk with? How do you approach them?
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations…” – Matthew 28:19 (NRSV)
To meet folks outside the church, you have to GO outside the church. In this resource for church leaders, four church leadership experts teach about why and how churches should meet the needs of their community. Implement this training in your committee and leadership meetings to create an effective plan for reaching out beyond the church walls.
The DVD includes three video presentations, and the Resource CD includes printable handouts, articles, and videos on discipleship and community engagement.
Read the full description of this resource in our online catalog: Taking Church to Community by The Lewis Center for Church Leadership, Wesley Theological Seminary, 2014.
Get Their Name
Here you will find specific tools that you can start using right now to build relationships that will grow new disciples in your church. Know your own faith story, get to know those you are in mission with, look for signals, and be ready when they come.
United Methodist leaders Bob Farr, Doug Anderson, and Kay Kotan add to these baselines a wealth of training, tools, and techniques to start and move outsiders towards discipleship. For use in small groups, this study speaks to individual church members, as well as leadership, to assess and practice relationship-based evangelism.
The DVD includes short introductory videos for each of the four weeks that reviews the material in the book. There is a coordinator’s guide that includes marketing, worship, and sermon outlines along with tips for group facilitators. Each group participant will need a workbook.
Read the full description of this study in our online catalog: Get Their Name: Grow Your Church by Building New Relationships by Bob Farr, Doug Anderson, and Kay Kotan; Abingdon Press, 2013. A DVD, Coordinator’s Guide, and Participant Workbook are also available.
To see a complete list of evangelism resources in the Media Center collection, view our Evangelism pathfinder. Click on the title of a resource to read its full description.
Explore recommended resources for the other levels of discipleship:
Discipleship Resources for Visitors (Level 2: Exploring)
Discipleship Resources for New Members (Level 3: Beginning)
Discipleship Resources for Christ-Followers (Level 4: Growing)
Discipleship Resources for Leaders (Level 5: Maturing)
More information on discipleship paths is available in our post on How to Choose the Right Study for Your Group.
To try one of these resources with your church, simply fill out the Resource Request Form, or contact the Media Center with any questions. The NC Conference Media Center is open to all clergy and laity in the North Carolina Conference of The United Methodist Church, free of charge.