Disciples Count – Territorial Evangelism and Discipleship Emphasis
In 1991, MISSION2000 gave the Western Territory an expansive vision of growth for the last decade of the millennium. For the past three years, PeopleCount! has challenged every soldier to duplicate themselves through acts of kindness, invitation and mentoring. In these years, the territory has seen record growth in the number of seekers, soldiers and new corps. Now, in these final years of MISSION2000, our Territorial Commander, Commissioner David Edwards, calls us to renewed commitment to Christ’s great Commission, “Therefore, go and make disciples…” (Matthew 28:19) NIV
Not a Campaign But a Personal Challenge
Disciples Count is not a program or a campaign in the traditional sense. The Salvation Army already has a vast array of creative and diverse programs. Disciples Count is meant to support local programs and new initiatives by focusing attention on the Biblical priorities of evangelism and discipleship. Bringing people to Christ and helping them grow as obedient disciples is fundamental to who we are as Christians and Salvationists. Disciples Count challenges every corps and every Salvationist to evaluate what they do in terms of discipleship and discipling.
If Disciples Count is successful, every Salvationist will gain a greater understanding of discipleship as a process of growing in spiritual knowledge, obedience and maturity. There will be renewed commitment to the life and ministry of the corps through growing stewardship of time, talent and treasure. There will be discovery and exercise of spiritual gifts for the development of others and the health and growth of the whole corps. Salvationist will be both true disciples and disciplers of others, fulfilling Christ’s Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20.
The Western Territory is perhaps the most diverse in the Army world in terms of languages and culture.There is no sure-fire, one-size-fits-all program that can meet the evangelism and discipleship needs of every corps and center. Disciples Count offers instead multiple options to meet the needs and resources of the local setting.
Disciples Count comes without special reports, forms, timetables or numeric goals. This is a direct result of feedback sought from the Territorial layman and officer council (TERLOC) and the MISSION2000 Council. Rather than imposing from “top down,” Disciples Count takes into account local needs and affirms local leadership by providing direction, choices and resources. Every corps should prayerfully and carefully determine their best strategies for making disciples truly count. Accountability for qualitative and quantitative results are already in place through statistics, reviews and other processes. Local ownership and commitment is key to the success of this emphasis.