Discipleship opportunities for churches, individuals abound


By Beth Fender
Coordinator of Discipleship and New Streams
There are a number of ways in which persons can develop their discipleship and leading others on their discipleship journey. Here’s a small sampling of opportunities:
Disability Resources: Many of the handouts which were in the display area, as well as information about and applications for Disability Awareness Grants, may also be accessed via links on the Disability Concerns pages on the conference website at: www.igrc.org/disabilityconcerns. The Disability Sunday grant fund has been significantly depleted by recent grants so local churches are urged to observe Disability Awareness Sunday on the 4th Sunday of September (or another date convenient to your congregation) and collect an offering so that funds will continue to be available to issue these grants.

Safe Sanctuaries: Other resources help churches remain Safe Sanctuaries for everyone. I am developing a network of at least one resource person in each district who can answer questions and provide training for local church volunteers. Meanwhile, I am willing to come to any church in the conference to provide this valuable training. Also, there are some BRAND NEW Safe Sanctuaries training videos on the Discipleship Ministries website on topics such as background checks, registered sex offenders, protecting vulnerable adults, and more. Links to the new videos were added just last week on the Safe Sanctuaries page of our conference website at: www.igrc.org/safesanctuaries. While there is no substitute for face-to-face training, these videos are a long-awaited tool, and I am grateful to Discipleship Ministries for producing them.
Walking in the Wesleyan Spirit series: There are upcoming and ongoing opportunities for spiritual leaders to deepen their own faith so that we can become even more effective at leading others in the discipleship journey.
Tom Albin of the Upper Room and Steve Manskar of Discipleship Ministries (both of whom helped with the development of the original New Streams workbook and DVD) back to the IGRC for a series of events beginning this fall. For more information about the "Walking with Jesus in the Wesleyan Spirit" series, please visit our display.
2:14 Prayer Group: The Board of Discipleship and I are excited about the concert of prayer that has been happening in the 2:14 Prayer Group (both on Facebook and through various local churches who have listed it in their bulletins). We have been in prayer for General and Annual Conference, and this effort will continue through the last day of Jurisdictional Conference. Prayer prompts are posted to Facebook each day at about 2 p.m. to remind everyone to stop at 2:14 and pray together.
Prison ministries: An exciting ongoing ministry in prisons in Pekin and Decatur is occurring with the potential of a new site in Pinckneyville. We are also excited to welcome Rev. Mark Hicks, the executive director of Disciple Bible Outreach Ministries National, who will be visiting Illinois Aug. 6-9. He will be presenting in two locations in the Northern Illinois Conference as well as in Pekin and Nashville within the IGRC. For more information about how you can get involved in this effort to send teams of volunteers to lead Disciple Bible Study in prisons throughout the state of Illinois, contact me at bfender@igrc.org and I will be happy to direct you to the appropriate people to get connected.
Conference Interns: There are 11 interns who are serving in churches and ministries throughout the conference this summer. (That's item #19 of the 20 Ways to Cultivate a Culture of Call in Your Local Church. Information on the internship program can be found at: www.igrc.org/interns You can also contact me for more information.