Monday, November 17, 2008

Candies Creek Report

As I write, I am sitting in a log cabin adjacent to the Smoky Mountain National Park in Townsend, Tennessee. My wife Pam and I arrived here late this afternoon after a two day Disciple Making Emphasis at Candies Creek Baptist Church in Cleveland, Tennessee. During his ten year pastorate, Dr. Jamie Work has led this congregation progressively toward a missional culture.

Pam and I were blessed not only to share the rich services of the Candies Creek congregation and staff, but to enjoy the marvelous ministry of Wings of Morning as well. Directed by David Edwards, for more than 24 years Wings has served God through dynamic worship and praise. Built upon a foundation of mission ministry, the young adults have among the most comprehensive repertoire of missional praise and worship music that I have ever heard. Check out their website and order their CD at

Pastor Work has led Candies Creek to support members who are living and working among unreached people groups globally. This emphasis was primarily devoted to enhancing the commitment of each member to the task of disciple making wherever they are. Our emphasis concluded a year of four focal weekends challenging the congregation to move to the next level in its mission strategy, as an equipping center, through intercession, and finally in disciple making.

Disciple making is centrally critical in any congregation seeking to pursue a missional culture. At the same time, it is an area in which church leaders routinely indicate the difficulty in constructing systems that consistently move members from convert to authentic disciple. Throughout the Disciple Making emphasis, we rehearsed the ministry of Jesus, who “went about doing good” modeling every one of the “one another” commands of Scripture (pray, encourage, etc) as a summary of his ultimate command, “Love one another.”

His teaching of the disciples was wrapped in the experiences encountered as they lived each day. His ultimate command to his followers came not at the outset of his ministry, but only after he had modeled what love looked like; how love behaves. Our disciple making is best accomplished by teaching in the context of relationships that reflect on the issues followers are facing in everyday life situations. We assist them to ask, “Where was God in the midst of the day’s experiences?” “What do His teachings say about how I should respond in those kind of circumstances?” “What can I do differently next time in order to allow Christ to live through me?”

His mission takes place in the context of the going about of his followers on a daily basis. We make disciples as we model righteous behavior resulting from valuing His Word that transforms our minds as we seek Him.

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