The story of the Methodist Episcopal Church (2): Training Christian Disciples for 31,000 churches

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Discipleship Ministries, an agency of the United Methodist Church in the United States, was called the General Board of Discipleship (GBOD) before March 2015. It was started in 1972 as one of the United Methodist Church’s 13 international ministries.

Discipleship Ministries provides new local churches with leadership training, spiritual formation, worship, leadership, evangelism, and training materials for all ages.

The ministry was directed to the conferences and districts of the United Methodist Church, as well as its 31000 churches, in order to train the congregation into disciples of Jesus and change the world.

The ministry promotes several programs: 1. Worship, 2. Upper Room ministries, 3. The Walk to Emmaus, 4. Leadership materials.

1. Worship
Worship includes the meaning and liturgy for every Sunday and special church events, sermon notes, suggested hymns, pictures, etc.

2. The Upper Room Ministries
The Upper Room Ministries publishes the daily devotional “The Upper Room” and also other spiritual training materials and books. The Upper Room devotional magazine is bimonthly, and works with all denominations to provide churches with quality spiritual formation and training material. The Upper Room is now in over 100 countries in 35 different languages, with a readership of around 3 million. It began in 1985 and is a very popular devotional material.

3. The Walk to Emmaus
Within the Upper Room Ministries is a spiritual formation course “The Walk to Emmaus”. It is a 3-day 72-hour trip, a new way to allow you to meet the resurrected Christ within the body of Christ, to experience the grace of God burning again in your hearts (Luke 24:15). The Walk to Emmaus aims to excite, challenge, and prepare believers, so that whether at home, at church, or in the workplace, they are able to live out a life of faith. The Walk to Emmaus is a spiritual renewal program, through the service of church leaders and pastors to train Christ’s disciples and strengthen the local church to accomplish Christ’s commission on this earth.

In order to encourage elders above 60 years of age to be renewed spiritually, the ministry promotes a condensed version of Walk to Emmaus, “Face to Face”. They are able to rediscover God in their daily lives and be renewed spiritually until they enter into God’s presence.

Further, the ministry provides “Journey to the Table,” a spiritual formation course for 18-35 year olds. It is a course run over 7 consecutive weekends or with a flexible schedule. It aims to transform families, workplaces, or schools.

Other Upper Room Ministries include: The Living Prayer Center, Upper Room chapel, museum, Academy for Spiritual Formation, eLearning courses, adult and youth spiritual formation magazines and courses, etc. (To be continued)

Compiled by Menglei
Translated by Joy Tie
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