iFollow Discipleship Resource

Discipleship Elements: How to Become a Nurturing Community

by Dan Day, Director
NAD Church Resource Center
February 24, 2010


There are three key discipleship challenges around which the upcoming discipleship curriculum from the Adventist Church in North America is constructed: (1) Discovering how to follow Jesus; (2) Learning how to grow in Christ; and (3) Experiencing how to become a nurturing community. In this segment, we'll look specifically at the third one.

Experiencing how we become a nurturing community centers on God's church becoming all that it could be in life, ministry and service. When we baptize new members, the critical question we should be asking ourselves is: how are we going to keep them? How are we going to make the church into the sort of place where a child who is growing up, a new member who is just being introduced-or the community as a whole, which is looking at the church expectantly-can see something happening that is embracing, supportive, and relevant.

We can't assume that because we are God's church that we represent a safe haven for any or all of these groups. What recent research demonstrates, on the contrary, is that young people and secular professionals in our society have rapidly declining opinions of the church. They see us as irrelevant, preoccupied only with getting more members, generally mean-spirited and rigid, more interested in being right than in making a difference. This is largely because we've allowed ourselves-as institutions-to be captured by leadership perspectives that are shallow, insular and parochial.

For our witness in the community to have the powerful impact God wants it to have (and expects it to have), we need to revitalize the church. We need to focus on making it welcoming, oriented toward service in the community, and representing more fully the character of Christ. In short, the church must become a true nurturing community. The rest is yet to come...


Previous Articles

The iFollow Journey (Jul. 2, 2010)
The iFollow Discipleship Resource (Mar. 10, 2010)
Discipleship Elements: How to Become a Nurturing Community (Feb. 24, 2010)
Discipleship Elements: How to Grow in Christ (Jan. 28, 2010)
Discipleship Elements: How to Follow Jesus (Jan. 13, 2010)
iFollow: What It Is, and How to Use It (Jan. 1, 2010)
Discipleship: Learning a New Language (Dec. 16, 2009)
Discipleship: What Is It, and Why Should We Care? (Dec. 9, 2009)
Discipleship: Just About Being Spiritually "Buff"? (Nov. 18, 2009)
Discipleship: If We Saw It Would We Recognize It? (Nov. 6, 2009)