Passionate Spiritual Disciples Follow-up

October 08, 2018
By Bishop Leonard Fairley

I always count it among my greatest honors to share ministry with the people called United Methodist in Kentucky.  In the past few months, I have had the privilege of sharing with many of you during this year’s round of regional meetings.  I have discovered a deep hunger in our churches to be about making “Passionate Spiritual Disciples who make disciples.” It is my belief that if we boil it all down making disciples will, and should, be our major focus.  It certainly is biblical (see Matthew 28).  Friends, it is the main thing.  Whatever else is happening around us, making disciples is not an option for it is a mandate from the Lord of the Church, the Risen Christ.  We have together explored what a passionate spiritual disciple looks like.  A passionate spiritual disciple is one who knows the love of God, grows in the love of God, and shows the love of God. Please know that you are in my prayers as we look for ways to live into this vital Christ centered mandate.  You may be wondering and asking the questions, “What’s next?” and “How does my church begin to be intentional about making passionate spiritual disciples?”

Here are three resources for your church to consider:

  1. Discovering Your Church’s Story Bible Study - Lay and clergy members of the Kentucky Annual Conference have developed a Bible study resource for your church to begin to develop an intentional discipleship process that will increase its health and effectiveness. You will find a facilitator’s guide that gives you a detailed plan for each lesson which can be led by clergy or laity. There is also a PowerPoint that aids in the lesson. The third piece is a participant’s guide where notes can be taken. This study is intended to have local faith communities self-assess their mission-field effectiveness and to provide insights for the faith community’s next steps. It is a discovery of your church’s story using Biblical images and stories. The design is to encourage and celebrate what God has already done and to lead into the next chapters of the church’s story.
  2. Developing a Discipleship System: A Guide for Congregations is a practical guide for congregations who find themselves stuck researching community demographics, pouring over worship attendance metrics, and fixing their aging structures, yet lack a system for creating relationships with those who surround their church. We can’t program our way back to vitality. Rather, it requires a movement toward discipleship-making, and it begins with a process that reaches into your community. Begin a conversation in your congregation around creating a lifestyle of intentional discipleship. This booklet is your first step! This resource is from Discipleship Ministries
  3. Discipleshift Retreats Discipleshift is an intentional model of developing disciples in the local church. This practical tool empowers lay people to lead transformational small groups where people grow in their faith. Discipleshift can be implemented in every size church and can make a difference in developing passionate, spiritual disciples. Discipleshift begins with a two-day immersion retreat and then is followed up by a twelve week course online. Discipleshift retreats for 2019 are February 1-2, May 17-18 and September 6-7 and will be held at the conference office in Crestwood.  To find out more, contact Tami Coleman at
  4. To view the PowerPoint presentation from the regional meetings, or to view a video of the meeting hosted by the Owensboro district, click here.

I encourage you to be in touch with your District Superintendent regarding your progress of making passionate, spiritual disciples. Together, we will transform our communities, our commonwealth, and the world. 

Leonard E. Fairley
Resident Bishop
Louisville Area