New Publishing Project Launched to Enhance Discipleship
Church of God Ministries, Inc. (CGM), has announced a new effort to promote and resource effective discipleship within the movement. Called “New Life Together,” the effort focuses on discipling new Christians through their relationships with more mature believers. Joe Allison, CGM coordinator of publishing and creative services, introduced New Life Together in a report to this year’s General Assembly.
Allison said that the church publishing house, Warner Press, will introduce a “new generation of discipleship resources” alongside its traditional Sunday school curriculum. Scheduled for release next year, the tools for New Life Together will encourage discipling relationships in the church, missional service, and intergenerational learning.
“Spiritual maturity is not simply a matter of acquiring enough knowledge,” Allison said. “Spiritual maturity is becoming like Christ. It’s being transformed by the Holy Spirit to have the character, values, and life purpose of Christ. This happens best in deep relationships with other Christians.”
In addition to a new website, www.newlifetogether.org, to promote communication about discipleship within the Church of God, the national office is hosting a series of discipleship roundtable discussions in various regions of North America to raise the church’s awareness of discipleship ministry. The first of these was held in Saginaw, Michigan, July 30–August 1. These discussions launched the emphasis known as New Life Together.
CGM sponsored five pastors at an intensive conference on faith formation in the twenty-first century based on a study underwritten by the Lilly Foundation. Each evening, the Church of God delegates met in a breakout session to share information about their own discipleship ministries and envision how the entire movement can be more effective in raising up disciples for Christ.
The Saginaw roundtable included Jonathan Absher, of Meadowbrook First Church, Bethalto, Illinois; Jonathan Frymire, of Orchard View Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan; John Mattern, of First Church, Greensburg, Indiana; Joy Sherman, discipleship associate of Maiden Lane Church, Springfield, Ohio; and Erin Taylor, Christian education associate of the Church at the Crossing, Indianapolis, Indiana. The moderator for the roundtable was Joe Allison.
“We hope these meetings raise the church’s awareness of the need for effective discipleship,” Allison said, “and build a network of ministers who are engaged in innovative discipleship ministries.” He pointed to the new CGM website www.newlifetogether.org as a portal to news, resources, and discussions about these ministries for the Church of God.
The New Life Together resources will “encourage people to form life-changing relationships within the body of Christ,” he said. “That’s how Jesus prepared the twelve apostles to change the world—by modeling the kind of life they should live, by allowing them to see him deal with the same temptations and challenges they would face every day.”
An example is Lloyd Bowen’s First Steps in Following Christ, a workbook for a growing Christian to complete alongside a more mature believer. First Steps is not only for new converts, but also for those who’ve been Christians for years and need to step up to a higher level of commitment to Christ.