During the 98th Session of the General Board, members approved a new set of bylaws for Sunday School and Discipleship Ministries International (SDMI).
The bylaws were created by a global SDMI strategy team with representatives from each of the six world regions. The team sought to identify the principles, practices, and behaviors of a local church that effectively makes Christlike disciples. These results were incorporated into the bylaws as five core principles: fervent prayer, compassionate outreach, comprehensive biblical learning, intentional mentoring and equipping, and authentic relationships.
The team also suggested the renaming of Sunday School & Discipleship Ministries International to Nazarene Discipleship International (NDI), which was approved by the General Board’s Local Church Ministries Committee and later the full board.
According to NDI Global Director Scott Rainey, the name change more adequately reflects the focus of the denomination’s global discipleship framework, A Journey of Grace.
“We remain committed to Sunday School as a fundamental enterprise in our Scriptural mandate to make disciples,” Rainey said. “However, the global strategy team wanted our name to reflect our commitment that making disciples is an ongoing journey encompassing all of life. Additionally, we wanted to be sure our name included the word ‘Nazarene’ to communicate our identity within the denomination.”
The change creates continuity between the names of the three local church ministries, Nazarene Missions International, Nazarene Youth International, and now Nazarene Discipleship International.
To access the bylaws in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Korean, from the GMC resources library click here or you can download them from the links below.
New Reporting Guidelines
Find the complete guidelines and definitions on the NDI Bylaws documents.
NDI Accountability Care List (ACL)
Each local church should strive to reach all unsaved persons in the community. In order to accomplish this goal, the NDI ministry of the local church shall create and sustain an up-to-date Accountability Care List (ACL). An ACL should include the name and contact/follow-up information for every person who regularly attends any of its NDI ministries and any individual the local church has encountered through outreach ministries or relational discipleship/evangelism. Once a person is added to the ACL, the local church should actively seek to minister to that person in the name of Jesus as he or she is brought into the fellowship of the local church.
The ACL should be divided among active NDI ministries across the church to include all those contained on the full list. Teachers/leaders of each ministry shall facilitate regular care and connection between the local congregation and those on the ACL.
The ACL shall become an active prayer list for the church through its regular NDI ministries. The ACL should prompt the local church to build Christ centered relationships with all people on the list. The ACL is intended to provide relational accountability for the body of Christ to its responsibility in the community.
The total number of all individuals on the ACL is to be reported in the Annual Pastor’s Report. The ACL includes all age groups and all NDI ministries. (For a full description of the varying NDI ministries refer to your regional handbook.)
The purpose of counting and reporting NDI attendance in the local church is to help measure the effectiveness of that church’s effort to make Christlike disciples, fulfilling the purpose of NDI. All NDI efforts should lead to the lost coming to faith in Jesus, new Christians being established in their faith in Christ, and believers experiencing the fullness of the Spirit, maturing in grace, and becoming disciple-makers. NDI attendance measures, therefore, should reflect this desired purpose.
NDI attendance includes all NDI ministries. These ministries shall be counted each week by the local church according to the guidelines listed below and in Article III, Section 1 of the bylaws.
SECTION 1. Definitions and Reports
The attendance of all Discipleship Ministry groups shall be defined as persons involved in Bible engagement and its application of the biblical principles for Christlikeness.
a. NDI attendance should consider:
How many individual people is the local church engaging with along their discipleship journey? In this case, every individual is counted only once. This number allows the church to evaluate the effectiveness (growth or decline) of reaching new people from its community.
How many discipleship “touches” occur during any given week/month? With NDI’s purpose of walking with every individual into a deeper experience with God toward holiness, believers may attend multiple NDI activities during any given period of time. The purpose of this number is to see the full effect of the discipleship effort of a local church. People, in this category, may be counted more than once as they may attend more than one meeting each week.
b. Attendance figures from all discipleship ministries groups shall be reported regularly to the local church board and on the Annual Pastor’s Report.
c. The District NDI Board, in consultation with the district superintendent, shall determine the frequency of the reporting (monthly, quarterly, or annually). All reporting will be submitted to the district.