Posts Tagged ‘discipleship’

An Unbroken Line

Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 | By Kimberly Reisman
Filed in: Kimberly Reisman, What's Your Next Step?


The current conversations flying around the web in the United Methodist Church reminded me of a post I wrote last year. I pulled it out and gave it a bit of an update…


Last year I defended my thesis for my PhD at Durham University in England. It’s an event the British call a ‘viva’ and it’s a nerve-wracking several hours spent fielding what seem like endless questions from two examiners. As is required, neither of my examiners had ever seen my work before and my supervisor, David Wilkinson, was not allowed to be present. It was quite a solitary experience, but at the same time, in an intriguing kind of way, not.

Durham Cathedral

Durham Cathedral

Immediately before the time of reckoning, David and I shared a coffee and then headed over to the Cathedral for a short time of quiet and prayer. As we sat in that amazing environment, David began casually, but eloquently, to remind me of the history of Durham University. Durham has been a seat of learning for over 1000 years beginning with the Venerable Bede, whose shrine was right behind us as we sat. The tradition of scholarship has continued in an unbroken line ever since, with each new scholar meeting with more experienced scholars to discuss their work. Even though he knew I was nervous and just a bit intimidated by the process, David emphasized that I should enjoy the viva, recognizing that what I was going to experience was much bigger than my thesis. The viva, as stressful as it may feel, was the entrance into a long tradition of scholarship, the doorway into a community stretching back over 1000 years.

After a brief time of prayer, we parted ways and I walked to Abbey House to meet my examiners. During the hours that followed, though I knew it was up to me alone to defend my work, I was surprised to discover that it wasn’t such a solitary experience. Even more to my surprise was the realization, about midway through, that I was actually enjoying myself; it was invigorating.

The memory of that experience, and more specifically of my conversation with David beforehand, has returned to me frequently – especially in the days since the United Methodist Council of Bishops met in North Carolina. It’s been a struggle not become absorbed in the difficulties facing the United Methodist Church. I’ve had to remind myself over and over that as Methodist Christians, we draw upon the insights of John Wesley (and Charles too), which is a wonderful thing. But that’s not who we follow. We follow Jesus Christ. Our tradition didn’t begin in the 18th century; it began in the first. Our creed isn’t the misnamed ‘Wesleyan Quadrilateral,’ it’s the Nicene.

about-portraitJust as my viva experience was bigger than my own thesis, we Methodist Christians are part of something much larger than our own history, much more foundational than any structure we might devise for our denomination, and deeper, more steadfast and enduring than any passing cultural norm could ever be. We are part of a magnificent Christian tapestry, woven from the threads of Scripture and a tradition stretching back over 2000 years. Our Methodist strands augment that tapestry, but not in the sense of adding something new or different. Those threads augment the tapestry by adding complementary colors to the already existing pattern. Some people describe it as following Jesus in the spirit of the Wesleys. In my family we call it being a Christian with a Wesleyan accent.

I have no doubt that as people who follow Jesus in the spirit of the Wesleys, we will survive our current challenges. What that will actually look like – I don’t know. But however things unfold, if we are faithful, what results will not happen because we will have created something new, but because we will have rediscovered the grand tapestry of Christian faith that is richer and more vibrant than our few threads alone.

Vital: Churches Changing Communities and the World


Jorge Acevedo


Lead Pastor ~ Grace Church in Southwest Florida


A Seminar for Laity and Clergy


Thursday, November 14, 2013






Mt. Comfort United Methodist Church

3179 North 600 West (Mt. Comfort Rd) ~ Greenfield, IN 46140 ~ 317.894.8965

1/2 mile north of I-70 (Exit 96) on Mt. Comfort Road (600W) 


Jorge Acevedo

Jorge Acevedo

Have you heard of Jorge Acevedo? His multi-cultural, multi-site, mega-church in southwest Florida has done what the United Methodist Church has struggled to do: reach people. His book, Vital, was a suggested text before the 2012 General Conference, and is a pretty good read.

In just a couple of weeks, he’ll be coming to Indiana to lead a day-long seminar you don’t want to miss! The location is Mt. Comfort UMC, which is near Indianapolis.

The event is sponsored by the Indiana Conference Confessing Movement. For details and registration information, click here.


There are a lot of challenging things happening in the UMC right now; but there remains one thing I believe we can still all agree on – the importance of reaching out to others with the love of Jesus Christ. That’s exactly what Jorge Acevedo is doing in Southwest Florida. If you’re anywhere close, I hope you’ll make an effort to attend.


This was seen last week on a billboard in Memphis, Tennessee. I’m so excited to be able to team up with Jessica LaGrone and Babbie Mason for a great teaching event this Thursday. I’ll be teaching from my new book, The Christ Centered Woman. If you’re in the area, click here to register! It would be great to have you join us!



Christ United Methodist Church


4488 Popular Ave

Memphis, TN



WA circle logoA Wesleyan Accent is up and running! We launched October 9 and have been posting articles on Wednesdays and Saturdays. We plan to add Mondays starting in November.

Check out today’s sermon by Robert Gorrell. He pastors at United Methodist Church of the Servant in Oklahoma City. This was the sermon he preached in the aftermath of the deadly tornadoes that struck Oklahoma earlier this year. It’s a wonderful message of strength and comfort in the face of tragedy and loss.

I hope you’ll check out A Wesleyan Accent. This new venture is exciting and meaningful and I believe holds great promise as a source of nourishment for spiritual our journey and renewal for our church.

Abingdon Women

Friday, August 9th, 2013 | By Kimberly Reisman
Filed in: Kimberly Reisman


IMG_0878Check out Abingdon Women for my most recent blog – Keep Your Eye on the Ball. While you’re there, take a look at The Christ-Centered Woman resources. It’s out and available for small group study. I think you’ll like it!


Kim Reisman

Kim Reisman


Next Step was founded in 2005 as a vehicle for ministry in the areas of evangelism, spiritual formation, and leadership development. It’s been an amazing 8 years, full of challenges, surprises, and a great deal of meaning. Many of you have been with me from the beginning, some have come alongside me more recently, all of you have been wonderfully supportive.

Opportunities are currently unfolding that will necessitate a change in direction for Next Step. I’m shifting responsibility and will now be at the forefront of a new venture – A Wesleyan Accent – a web-based ministry providing free and subscription resources for Christian spiritual formation, catechesis, and discipleship in the Wesleyan way. It’s my hope that by clearly articulating the Wesleyan understanding of Christian faith, A Wesleyan Accent will contribute significantly to the task of strengthening discipleship, empowering mission and evangelism, cultivating ministry gifts of young leaders, and nurturing the professional and service life of young theologians.

There will be two main areas of the site – free resources and information, and subscription resources. The free resources will include blogs, sermons, articles, book reviews, and videos from leading voices in the Wesleyan family. Discipleship in the Wesleyan Way will be the subscription portion the site. Individuals and churches will be able to purchase annual subscriptions, which will provide access to an extensive library of small group lessons on all aspects of Christian theology. Additionally, Discipleship in the Wesleyan Way will support discipleship and small group development by providing resources for both leaders and participants through a platform of customizable curriculum planning and private group portals for ongoing communication and additional resourcing.

I’m excited about this new phase of ministry. A Wesleyan Accent will launch in the fall and you’ll be able to find us at At that time, visitors to this site will be redirected to A Wesleyan Accent. In the meantime, if you’re new to Next Step, I hope you’ll explore the site as it is – there’s a lot of great content here that will remain accessible to you throughout the transition phase and beyond.

Thanks again for your support. I look forward to continuing to serve through A Wesleyan Accent!





Register Now for LCI 2013!


Calling all clergy, church staff and lay leaders! Ready to set your congregation on fire for God? Register now for “Ignite: Growing Disciples to Transform the World,” the 2013 Large Church Initiative of the United Methodist Church.

LCI 2013 will feature more than 50 workshops on growing disciples focused on:

    • Stewardship
    • Congregational Care
    • Education
    • Children
    • Youth
    • Serving
    • Worship
    • Communications

 … and more.


Hosted by Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Tampa, FL

April 22-24


Early bird registration rates and workshop selections are now available!

Registration Fee

On or Before Feb. 1, 2013 – Early Bird Rate

$299 individual

$279 group (four or more people)

After Feb. 1, 2013

$349 individual

$329 group (four or more people)

 Register online at

Get Out of the Way

Madeleine L’Engle writes:

Madeleine L’Engle

When the artist is truly the servant of the work, the work is better than the artist; Shakespeare knew how to listen to his work, and so he often wrote better than he could write; Bach composed more deeply, more truly than he knew; Rembrandt’s brush put more of the human spirit on canvas than Rembrandt could comprehend.

When the work takes over, then the artist is enabled to get out of the way, not to interfere. When the work takes over, then the artist listens.

But before he can listen, paradoxically, he must work. Getting out of the way and listening is not something that comes easily, either in art or in prayer.

It’s true in art and in prayer, but also in faith itself – particularly in sharing that faith. When we are ‘servants of the work,’ as L’Engle describes, just as the artist allows the work to take over, so we allow the Holy Spirit, which moves within us and through us, to take over. Just as the artist is enabled to get out of the way – to not interfere – we are enabled to become vehicles of transformation in the lives of others. Not the source of transformation, mind you, but fortunate witnesses of a power deeper that we can comprehend.

Like with the artist’s work, when the Holy Spirit takes over, we must listen – deeply, attentively, openly. Not only to the Spirit, but to the other with whom we share – listening deeply, attentively, openly.

But, as L’Engle says, there is a paradox. Like the artist, before we can get out of the way and listen we must work. To be a ‘servant of the work’ we must launch ourselves into it, trusting that the work is bigger and better than we are. So we make space, build relationships, take risks, share vulnerabilities and allow the Spirit to take over; allow the Spirit to enable us not to interfere, but to be fortunate witnesses of a power deeper than we can comprehend.

Kim Reisman

Kim Reisman



Making Life Matter


Making Life Matter is a weekly 30 minute Christian inspirational and teaching program hosted by Maxie Dunnam and Shane Stanford. Next Step partners with Kingdom Catalysts to bring you MLM, which tackles issues of faith and life to deepen discipleship and encourage strong connections between following Jesus and living in today’s world. Mark your calendars to visit Next Step and listen regularly. Click below to hear today’s program.



Peace Camp Uganda


Aubrey and Patrick Woodson are two young Peace Corps volunteers I am blessed to call friends. They serve in Uganda and recently Aubrey worked with youth from the Greater North in a weeklong Peace Camp. She posted this on her blog:

We have been fortunate to grow up in an environment where people can argue about politics, the validity of eating at Chik-fil-A, Kony 2012…etc. None of them matter without peace. I know my campers learned a lot this week at Peace Camp but I also learned a lot from them about the power of forgiveness. It was truly inspirational to see the resilience of the youth, who have been through so much, and their willingness to learn about living in peace with themselves and with one another.

She went on to post a poem written by one of the youth:

Peace Peace Peace

Who are you?

Where do you stay?

Where were you born?

Who has ever seen you?

Peaceful Living UgandaSome people say that

you are love and joy.

Others say that you are happiness.

Others describe you as unity and respect.

To those who have read extensively

and widely, they think of you as a situation

or a period of time where there is

no war in a country. Yet others think of you

as a state of living in friendship with somebody.

How special are you?

You are too unique.

You are needed in our world now.

People are suffering and crying because you are not there.

Armies are fighting because you are not there.

Police are deployed where you are absent.

In the Greater North, many people were killed,

burnt, hammered and hung because you were absent.

Our children of this generation don’t know you.

Many people have lost their lives in the process of searching for you.

Many are still in the bush looking for you.

Many weapons were made to bring you back.

Married men and women have separated because you are nowhere to be seen.

Nobody can be comfortable without you.

Aubrey Woodson

Aubrey Woodson – Peace Camp 2012

It seems love is your father.

Happiness is your mother.

Joy, unity, and respect are you relatives.

Confusion and fighting are your greatest enemies.

Killing can chase you out of a country.

We cry, pray, and request

you humbly to stay in the

Greater North of our country

forever and ever.

-Omodo Boniface


Yes. Stay…but please, not only in the Greater North…


…If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.                                                  2 Chronicles 7.14