Rule of Christ

Rule of Christ

“A key foundational strategy for discipleship is congregational health. Healthy churches make healthy disciples. Healthy disciples make healthy disciples. Healthy disciples transform the world.”

Bishop Tracy S. Malone congregational health is a priority of the East Ohio Conference this quadrennium. “The overall health of the church, and the overall vitality and effectiveness of ministry, largely depends on how pastors and churches handle conflict, disagreements and relationships,” Malone told 50 clergy and laity during their August training session on the principles of the Rule of Christ.

 “Rule of Christ was designed by the late Rev. Terry N. Gladstone, a Deacon in the Michigan Area, as a way of applying Jesus’ teachings from Matthew 18 to the life and relationships in the local church,” said the Rev. Arlene Christopherson, the assistant to the bishop and the director of Connectional Ministries in the Northern Illinois Conference, who led the session.

The six-step Rule of Christ is a new resource in theEast Ohio Conference:

 • Step 1 – Look at Yourself (Matthew 18:8-9)

. Jesus tells us to take time to examine our role in a conflict.

• Step 2 – One-on-One (Matthew 18:15)

Resolve the conflict.

 • Step 3 – Get Some Objective Help (Matthew 18:16)

Others can help the parties see possibilities.

• Step 4 – Take it to the Church (Matthew 18:17a)

 Use the resources of the church.

• Step 5 – Shake the Dust (Matthew 18:17b)

Some issues cannot be resolved.

• Step 6 – God is There (Matthew 18:20)

God has promised to be with us in the midst of our problems.

“The Rule of Christ is a proven Biblical process, and a tool, for helping pastors and fhurches build healthy ministry together and healthy relationships,” Malone said. “The ultim~te goal is to have every one of our 718 churches trained and receive this tool, but we’re going to Istart in our launching of the Rule of Christ this fall in East Ohio with churches that have received pastoral changes this year.”

 The pastor and the staff parish chair of each church that had a pastoral change in Julr will receive a letter from the episcopal office that introduces the Rule of Christ process, identifies the church’s trainer, and sets expectations for arranging the training session. Throughout the training process, trainers are under the supervision of the district superintendent of the church to which they have been assigned.

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