On June 18, 2014, the 42nd General Assembly approved a name change for the Committee on Christian Education and Publications (CEP), which will now be known as the Committee on Discipleship Ministries (CDM).
“The change is the culmination of a process begun in September 2008 as CEP discussed the need to change the name of the committee to better reflect its work in the denomination,” explains CDM coordinator Stephen Estock.
Committee members felt that having the terms “Education” and “Publications” as sole identifiers didn’t adequately express the breadth of what CEP, now CDM, was doing. In addition, those descriptors could make their work seem more cognitive or academic. “Discipleship in the local church does involve a growth in the knowledge of Christ (Ephesians 1:18),” says Estock, “and published works are a resource to that end. However, our primary calling is to ‘make disciples’ (Matthew 28:19).”
CDM leaders feel the new moniker is more aligned with the broader discipleship purpose of the PCA.
CDM leaders feel the new moniker is more aligned with the broader discipleship purpose of the PCA. “Mission to the World (MTW) assists the local church in global discipleship, and Reformed University Ministries (RUM) assists the local church in discipleship to college students. Discipleship Ministries (CDM) assists the local church in the ministry of discipleship to children, youth, and adults in the congregation,” says Estock.
While the name change does not mean a radical alteration in form or function for the committee, it does represent a subtle shift in direction. Leaders hope the change will better communicate the ministry’s purpose to the broader PCA community, while internally a more discipleship-focused ministry will keep CDM better attuned to the needs of local churches. “There will be a greater emphasis on what we do to equip and train those who serve in the local church,” says Estock.
Visitors to CDM’s newly designed website will find an easy-to-navigate design, with links to many familiar features such as devotionals and book reviews. The site also offers a wealth of free online resources in the “Ministry Toolbox” section. What visitors may not see are as many CDM-published studies or curriculum. “Today, there is a greater need for CDM to serve as a hub and filter to help churches find resources to fit their requirements,” says Estock. “Though CDM will continue to publish resources, we will produce less ‘in-house’ materials and work to make accessible a variety of resources developed by PCA individuals serving in local churches.”
Another effort at “localizing” CDM’s content and ministry will be through training events. Rather than emphasizing large national conferences that can be expensive and may not best meet the needs of all attendees, CDM will focus on more regional events that allow local staff and volunteers to gather and share ideas. To broaden the reach and effectiveness of its ministry, CDM is also seeking cooperative partnerships with other PCA committees and agencies.
Estock feels that CDM can play a great role in connecting churches and church members at local and national levels. “Our bold vision is that God would somehow use the ministry of CDM to enable the PCA to realize more fully the connectional nature of Presbyterianism,” he says. “We are convinced the ministry of the local church would be enhanced as staff members become more aware of what other PCA churches are doing to minister in a particular cultural context.”
Estock refers to this as having unity without uniformity. “Our vision is to serve the PCA as a ‘hub’ for relationships and resources,” he says, “connecting people to people, and people to resources, so they are better equipped to do the work of discipleship ministry.”
Visit pcacdm.org to learn more.