Dr. Scott R. Rainey, NDI Global Director
I have always been thankful and blessed by Nazarene laypeople. I have known so many who are smart, kind, generous, and loving. I have witnessed those who live with great integrity and faithfulness to God and Christ’s church. Through 28 years of ministries, I have often thought, “We have the best people in the world, if only the world could spend more time with them.”
Unfortunately, many of these beautiful Nazarenes work hard in their secular jobs and spend the rest of their time serving in their church. My ministry goal for all Nazarenes is for them to become invested in the lost and broken people God has put around them, especially outside the church. I’ve found that when Nazarenes invest themselves in the lives of their neighbors and coworkers, amazing things happen. Unbelievers see and hear the gospel and their brokenness becomes wholeness. It is a beautiful thing!
From Thinking Right to Living Right
When I returned to the USA from the missions field in August 2018 to serve as director of SDMI, our task was to equip and release the church with a new evangelistic, disciple-making passion. The question was how could we get every Nazarene to make Christlike disciples?
We needed to think right about the process of making disciples, so we started by looking at our philosophy of discipleship. We acknowledged that disciple making included reaching the lost, establishing new believers in their faith, walking with every believer into the deeper life in the Holy Spirit, and helping them become disciple-makers. So in March 2021, the Board of General Superintendents launched the global initiative of Nazarene Discipleship as “A Journey of Grace,” which unified the church in the mission of “making Christlike disciples in the nations.”
In addition to right thinking, we needed to ensure right action. So a select group of 30 people (five from each of our six global regions) met virtually to answer the question, “What are the principles, practices, and behaviors of a local church that effectively makes Christlike disciples along a ‘Journey of Grace’?” The Lord blessed this time together, and the team identified five specific principles or practices:
Comprehensive Biblical Learning
Intentional Mentoring and Equipping
If the local church focuses on these five core principles in daily ministry, the church will accomplish the objective of Nazarene discipleship.
From the 30 members of the global SDMI strategy team, six individuals from four countries agreed to serve on the writing team for the new SDMI bylaws. This team spent countless hours articulating the five discipleship principles so that local churches could clearly understand the new bylaws. Additionally, eight groups examined the work of the global writing team, providing further input and editing. Once completed, the Local Church Committee of the General Board received a final version of the new bylaws for review.
On 28 February 2022, the 98th Session of the General Board approved a new set of bylaws for Sunday School & Discipleship Ministries International (SDMI). The new bylaws included a name change for Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International. Now, Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International has become Nazarene Discipleship International (NDI). We are excited to share these new bylaws in this first edition of NDI’s new newsletter, Journey. A video is also available that explains the NDI revision process and name change for further clarification.