Our annual district conference on April 7-8 featured Aaron Couch as the main speaker. True to the mentoring culture of the church where he pastors, he brought an associate pastor along, a mentoree of his, Josh Gray, who also did some of the teaching. The theme was disciplemaking. Insights that I found helpful included these:
- –Luke 10, in the context of the whole book, shows that Satan’s power is defeated as we bless people and proclaim the Kingdom.
- –According to Matt. 4:19, a disciple is one who is following Jesus, is being changed by Jesus, and is on mission with Jesus.
- –Disciplemaking cannot happen in a classroom. Is your church structured so that it can happen?
- –Leadership is making people uncomfortable at a rate they can tolerate.
- –Find your leaders in the reclaimed folks in your pews. In most churches they are not noticed or not given a second chance.
- –If the pastor wants the church to make disciples, he must start with his own practice: he must be discipling several guys himself, preferably at least one new believer.
- –Stop trying to be the best church in your community; be the best church for your community.
- –We will find Jesus in the brokenness around us and in the brokenness inside us.Audio recordings of the teaching sessions can be found on our website.
In addition to the teaching sessions, the conference featured several workshops and the annual business session. Highlights of the business session are:
- Accepted into the district were church plants: The Lighthouse (Hackensack) and Grace Community Church (New Ulm).
- Tom Mouw, now resuming his full duties, was re-elected as District Superintendent and Dan Moose was re-elected as Church Planting Director.
- Larry Stromberg and Chris Cundiff were re-elected to the district board of directors and Dale Robins was elected for a first term.
- The district budget was approved.
- Ministry highlights were reported by Julie Andersen (Family and Children’s Ministries), Betty Swanson (Senior Adult Ministries), Susie Ask (Elim Care, Inc.), Mary Van Der Werf (Faith Community Nursing), Dan Moose (church planting), Jim Anderson (pastoral care), Steve Austovold (missions mobilization), Glenn Olson (student ministries), Dave Linde (church resources), and Tom Mouw (superintendent). The conference booklet and annual reports can be found on our website.
Tom gave the attendees a challenge: report stories that will be encouraging to us as a district family. Send words, photos, and/or video clips to Godfirstname.lastname@example.org. These are stories that have to do with disciplemaking—the kind of things that can multiply and cumulatively make a regional impact for the gospel:
- salvation stories, baptism stories
- “go-to” initiatives
- answers to prayer from the harvest field
- Christ bringing life from brokenness
- mentoring, life-on-life ministry
- team ministry
- leadership development
- transformed lives, neighborhoods, communities