In order to become a member of Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church in Monument, Colo., you first must participate in a 10-week discipleship class. Called "Blueprint for Discipleship," the course covers the basics of United Methodist and Christian beliefs.
The classes are the first step in building disciples rather than building a church.
"We want to grab them right away," said the Rev. Bob Kaylor, lead pastor since 2010. "We have lifelong members who don't know much about their own theological DNA, and new Christians and seekers attend."
Kaylor said the classes have been instrumental in the church's vitality and growth. He has noticed that new members are assimilated more quickly, build relationships faster and join small groups more frequently.
The church started in 1991 as a church plant in an abandoned truck stop. In 2000, the congregation purchased 40 acres. Six years later, it held its first worship service in new facilities. Today, the congregation has 600 members with about 350 attending its three worship services.
Each worship service includes Holy Communion.
"It's a means of grace," Kaylor said. "My preaching isn't enough. Wesley said to take Communion at every opportunity, and that's what we've done for the past two years."
Vibrancy goes beyond numbers, Kaylor said. "If you build a church, you rarely build disciples. If you build disciples, you always get the church."
Kaylor takes delight when people at Tri-Lakes live out their passion through outreach. He points to an emergency-preparedness ministry that sprang from wildfires around the area in the past two years.
This ministry, he said, which now involves 30 people, came out of the passion of two church members. "I, as a pastor, had nothing to do with it other than to create the conditions for people to live out their passion. That's pretty cool."
The Rev. Erik Alsgaard is managing editor, Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference.
AT A GLANCE Tri-Lakes United Methodist Church | 20256 Hunting Downs Way, Monument, CO 80132 | [email protected] | www.tlumc.org | Pastor: The Rev. Robert Kaylor | Average Attendance: 346 | Rocky Mountain Conference