Outfitting the Disciple Makers
By Zoe S. Erler

Once an intelligence officer with the Air Force and a PCA pastor, Stephen Estock brings together strategy and a shepherd’s heart in his role as coordinator of PCA’s Discipleship Ministries (CDM). As an expert people-connector, Estock shares the importance of equipping lay leaders to make disciples, and providing them with some of CDM’s best free resources. 

What is CDM, and why does it matter to the PCA?

Every church does discipleship; we are the committee that comes alongside people in the local church as they’re making disciples. Particularly, we train, equip, and encourage those involved with ministry to children, men, women, youth, and older adults. We also consider ourselves “brokers of relationships and resources.” There are a lot of great people and resources in the PCA and wider Reformed community that can help you do what you do better. We try to make the connections.

Those two things — Word and relationship — have always been needed, but especially today in our individualistic American society.

Ministry to women is a big focus for CDM right now. Why?

We’re a complementarian denomination, and women are not ordained to authoritative office. Yet, I fear that in order to avoid going astray, we may have gone to another extreme of not fully utilizing the gifts of women. What we’re wanting to do this year, especially in women’s ministry training, is present the idea of life-giving leadership, which is the biblical model of leadership through service (explained in the book “Life-giving Leadership” by Karen Hodge and Susan Hunt). It’s kind of ironic in today’s political climate that the most successful leadership models are those based on humble service. That’s what we’re trying to emphasize. 

In light of our cultural context, what do people most need when it comes to being discipled?

So, what do we need to have for discipleship? You’ve got to have the Word, because the Word is God’s means to change us and grow us in the faith. But discipleship is not just intellectual. The Word is presented in context and community. I can’t really minister the Word to you until I know your situation. And those two things — Word and relationship — have always been needed, but especially today in our individualistic American society.

What are some of your best free resources available on your website?

One of our most popular resources is a collection of templates for child-protection policies that directors of children’s ministries can borrow and adapt for their local situations. Another one is a curriculum comparison chart that helps children’s ministry leaders select a curriculum based on questions like “Is it Reformed? Is it Covenantal? What ages is it geared for?” We also have sample nomination forms and exams for churches to use in officer training.

All of these resources, along with more information, are available at pcacdm.org.

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