Service Discipleship Model

Ministry

Here’s an approach to discipling young people in Estonia that has grown out of our summer mininstry for the last 5 years. Any feedback is welcome!

Introduction

This method seeks to provide an integrative, cohort driven, mentored, service oriented discipleship resource for Estonian young people. The idea is to disciple 6-8 young people over the course of a year using their own summer projects as a context for practicing what we learn together and committing to communicate and meet throughout the year to solidify the summer’s lessons.

Some Observations

  • Discipleship is a shared, lifelong journey – Therefore, we focus energy on a core group of handpicked young people and work with them over the course of a summer/year. Shared experiences during this time will forge mutually supportive relationships that will continue to grow as youth grow older and learn to exercise their call to service both in the church and in their community.
  • Projects often displace discipleship – Therefore, rather than adding another project to the table, this method seeks to be the thread that weaves existing projects together suffusing them with a deeper level of meaning and effectiveness. With mentored supervision and intentional participation of the cohort, otherwise unrelated projects become the context in which discipleship and leadership training can occur.
  • Commitment to mission starts at home – We want to build up a commitment to the local church AND mission through service in local communities. Team members are encouraged to suggest mission opportunities in needy areas of their own region and to represent the concerns of region to the rest of the group.

In Short

The project would start with a week long intensive Spring Training which would introduce the goals and topics for the year and bond cohort members as they overcome obstacles along the journey.

Participants would then commit to serve alongside one another in local ministry projects at least once a month for three months through the summer. During each project, mentors (2 per group of youth) would focus on supporting, teaching and ministering alongside the youth paying particular attention to each person’s gifts, personality, strengths and weaknesses and giving personal feedback.

The summer would end with a commissioning ceremony sending each of the young people into ministry in their home context (whatever that might be) for the remainder of the year. Personal mentor-ship and mutual support from team-members would continue throughout the year. Young people who complete such a program would then be eligible to apply for future Alongside Internship opportunities with our churches in the US.

Implementation Tasks

  • Identify potential mentors (2 per cohort group means 3:1 ratio of disciples:mentors)
  • Identify first cohort group members (with help of regional leaders)
  • Develop or find an existing curriculum to work through with cohort
  • Identify existing projects in cohort member’s home regions OR begin to develop a project that fits the region’s needs.

2 thoughts on “Service Discipleship Model

  1. Matt ? You’ve outlined an excellent plan for discipling the young adults you know and don’t know! It’s AD with a unique mindset for your cultural context and would urge you to move forward! How can we support you in this?

    1. @Margie
      You’re right about the similarity to AD. In fact, Meego just recently told me that since he was with us in 2004 he has had hopes for something AD-like here in Estonia … a mentored community integration of learning, experience and reflection.

      My hope is that this will also provide a flexible grid for all kinds of purposeful summer involvement via AMI. For example, mission teams coming for a visit would have three options for projects in which we would otherwise be involved rather than creating a project around a given team. Alongsiders coming to serve in Estonia could use this summer as an orientation time participating in, learning with and supporting the cohort while gaining an overview of Estonian culture and ministry. Interns like Beth might get more out of a summer experience (and enrich the experience of the cohort) if the internship was designed around participation in the cohort. In fact, in my mind, each cohort will shoot to have 6 Estonians and 2 summer interns, all of whom will be mentored throughout the summer/year. Any of these forms of participation would add a significant cross-cultural perspective and enrich the cohort experience tremendously.

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