A note to the reader:
This paper proposes a hypothetical solution to problems perceived by the
author in the Illinois Great Rivers Conference of the United Methodist Church.
The paper represents the thoughts of the author, not the Office of
Congregational Development of that conference, nor of any Conference personnel.
While the author hopes that the proposal will be implemented, the reader
should not assume that in its present form it has the approval or endorsement of
any official or committee of the Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference.
This consideration lies in the future.
David O. Kueker
The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution. – Bertrand Russell
Matthew 25:22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ 23 His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.’ 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’
The third servant in this parable hides what he has been given in the ground because he is afraid to take a risk. When I began to look back on two decades of ministry in the United Methodist Church, 1979-2000, I came to believe that too much of what I had done creatively had been buried in the ground, hidden away out of fear of criticism or rejection. It was safe in the ground, but what we are given comes to us to be used rather than stored away. I began to consider how I might dig up all that I had buried, and provide it in such a way that anyone who was led to it could use it for the benefit of all concerned. This web site, and other
In 2000 I began working on a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California (www.fuller.edu/cll/dmin/). Fuller is the historical source of church growth thinking and at the forefront of the growing edge of innovation in evangelism, disciple-making, and lay leadership development. I’ve always read more on these subjects than anyone I knew, and at Fuller, I was able to learn from and with other pastors who had been reading what I had been reading. Throughout these seven wonderful years, it became to be very clear to me that my research and particularly the project for the Doctor of Ministry should not go into the ground but be made available on such a website. I hope and pray that it is a blessing. In the future, I will be adding information to the site and hope to form a community of people who enjoy dialogue around the concepts of making disciple makers, church planting and innovation in organizations.
Over the years since these words were written, two other statements of Jesus have become meaningful:
This is a command: Luke 14:10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest
This is a reminder: John 4: 44 For Jesus himself testified that a prophet has no honor in his own country.
The implementation of this project, three years of research and writing a dissertation, is yet to be implemented 12 years later. Nor has it been presented, examined or discussed by anyone in authority to the best of my knowledge. Seven years of study at the best seminary in the world for this topic remains unutilized. I remain at the table and occasionally interrupt the conversation, but my calling is to make it available, not to force anyone to the conviction to use it. That is the role of the Holy Spirit. As the dissertation maintains, systems resist innovation and significantly resist innovation that could lead to change.
I recently added up the words that I have written that lay on the ground, self-published online and through Amazon.com, and they are over a half million words in 12 years, plus all the years of sermons, seminars and other things written to fulfill my calling. But it’s available. May God use it as God pleases – ad
 The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html. In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through CreateSpace.com.
   
All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.