God inspired. Leaders planned. The people spoke.
17,800 people from 96 nations came to "The Mountain of the Lord" for the 2012 World Discipleship Summit sponsored by the International Churches of Christ in San Antonio, Texas last week. Praises Heard Around the World, a new movement anthem, rang through the heart of worship, sermons and fellowship. God provided 8 Conferences in 4 Days in 1 City that fed, challenged and changed thousands of lives and continues the impact on those watching on DToday.tv; the conference videos have been loaded over 138,000 times in 127 countries.
God truly gave us a defining promise that He will provide and a defining call to complete the Great Commission of our Lord and Savior.
Years ago when our movement began, we were totally dependent on God's direction and provision. None of us had ever even seen a church planted. Yet we believed Jesus when he said: Go make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age -- Matthew 28:19-20
Through an incredible global plan, hundreds of churches were planted, tens of thousands were baptized around the world. Sadly, as God gave us these successes, we became self-reliant and arrogant. The Father got our attention a decade ago and disciplined us as a parent who loves his children. Most all of our leaders and members listened, repented and ran to His arms for forgiveness, comfort and direction. Now He is calling us back to His mission as billions still do not know the name of Jesus. He taught us to include the middle of the Great Commission: "and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you." Now as we help people become disciples, we are also helping them mature in their faith. We are grateful for God's reminder that as we plant and water, He gives the increase. More and more are being baptized and being restored to God.
Most all of the leaders in our churches stayed at the helm during the storm listening to God's discipline, repenting and changing in significant ways. Many stepped up to fill obvious gaps to meet the needs. A prayerful, humble call to cooperate with deep conviction went out. Now 570 churches in 138 countries have committed to the Plan for United Cooperation.
In 2010, our evangelists, elders and teachers called each church and each geographic region to have faith in God and put before Him a 2020 Vision plan for reaching their area of the world. The 10 Service Teams have been reviving our campus and singles ministries, changing the direction of our youth and family ministries, increasing our service to the poor through HOPE worldwide and connecting us more through Disciples Today and ICOC Hot News. The ICOC Delegates envisioned, prayed and planned for our first ever World Discipleship Summit.
God has shown us how to replace our former rigid authoritarian structure with a humble, respectful and harmonious collaboration and cooperation of churches committed to God, to each other and to the lost. We have rejected autonomy as God has shown us we are stronger together for Him than we are apart. As we move together, the only thing not up for discussion and change is the Bible. Everything else is open to review and revision to serve the Lord's purpose. Repentance is now not just an event but a lifestyle as we continue to be transformed into the image of Christ. A second wave of missionaries are raising up.
We are not the only Christians, but we are committed to being disciples who serve together.
The People Spoke
Our leaders showed great courage and foresight to call us to the 2020 Vision and to have the first ever World Discipleship Summit. But, as WDS Director, Mike Taliaferro says, "No leader guessed even close to the turnout we had for the Summit."
The people spoke.
- They came from 96 countries.
- Over 2,000 from outside the United States.
- About 3,000 college students, 3,000 singles, 7,000 marrieds, 2,000 teens and 2,000 children.
- Nearly 40 % of our North American disciples attended!
What were they saying?
- We love God more than ever.
- Jesus is still Lord and Savior!
- We love His church.
- We love our movement.
- We love our diversity.
- We love the lost.
- We want to serve the poor.
- We believe in discipleship.
- We are ready to go.
- Please show us the way forward.
- Let's finish the mission.
The Mission Point Church illustrates all of these points. Through the faith and excellent leadership of Mike and Anne-Brigitte Taliaferro and Herve and Janet Fleurant, this church of 400 members was willing to step out on faith and take on the task of hosting this conference that wound up triple the initial estimates. God blessed them with their most fruitful year ever during the intense planning and preparation!
Hundreds from throughout Texas, other states and Canada volunteered. Over 215 sermons and class sessions were delivered, many with multiple speakers. God blessed it as our largest gathering ever became a defining moment for our movement.
God will provide. Let's finish the mission. By the grace of God, once again we are men and women who dream!
- Check out Mike Taliaferro's editorial, Has a New Era Begun in the ICOC?
- Watch key parts of the World Discipleship Summit on DToday.tv These videos have been loaded over 150.000 times so far in 127 countries.
- Please donate to help make these broadcasts possible.
- Audio of the 200 classes will be made available as they are processed and published. Watch DisciplesToday.org for announcements.