Discipleship

Working together to a common aim our primary purpose it to see hundreds more people drawn into discipleship and our whole community changed and transformed by God’s loving rule.

This can be expressed in the following way.

  • Everyone a disciple
  • Every disciple a disciple-maker
  • Every church a discipleship community
  • Everywhere a discipleship invitation

Everyone a disciple
We are aware that for too long the church has baptised people but failed to attract them to a life of discipleship. We admit that levels of whole-life and whole-hearted discipleship in our churches have been low. We recognise that attendance is not the same as discipleship. We confess that we have failed to see people bring all aspects of their lives under the rule of God and submit themselves fully to his Kingdom. We repent of this.

We now agree that our goal and our vision is to see a dramatic increase in both the quality and quantity of disciples across the Deanery and commit ourselves to making this a reality.

Every disciple a disciple-maker
Connected with this we are also similarly aware that we have failed to make disciples who are adequately motivated, equipped and enabled to make other people disciples too. We recognise that ministry and mission has been seen as something that experts are engaged in while the vast majority of the church remains passive. We admit that we have failed to equip the saints for ministry and that ministry has been relegated to a professional class of clergy, readers or other workers.

We accept that it is vital that this situation needs to change if we are to see a whole generation of people access the Kingdom of God, receive forgiveness and salvation and to experience eternal life. To this end we commit ourselves to a vision where every disciple sees themselves as a disciple-maker, an active part of the body of Christ and fully participating in mission and building up the church.

Every church a discipleship community
It is not uncommon for us to describe our buildings or our services as ‘church’. Liked to this has been an implicit understanding that ‘church’ is what happens on Sundays when we gather to worship. We recognise that we need to re-conceive the way we think of ‘church’ and ‘church life’ disconnecting it from its attachments to buildings, services or activities. Instead we want to see every ‘church’ as a community of disciples and every church building as a centre for discipleship. Alongside our notions of seeing our buildings as ‘worship centres’ we want to see our church buildings recast as a useful ‘discipleship centres’ and equipped for this purpose. Recognising that we have also been gifted with numerous ‘community centres’ we are determined to re-envisage these are centres for discipleship. As we do this we believe that our ‘churches’, the community of disciples, will become more naturally missional in nature.

Everywhere a discipleship invitation
We accept too, that for too long our faith has been restricted with the walls of our church buildings or confined to a sphere of life that is called ‘spiritual’. We believe that Jesus is Lord of every inch of this world and we want every disciple to know that they have a mandate to be an agent of the kingdom in every sphere of life. Just as drinking coffee is no longer confined to the café, we believe that the gospel must no longer be confined to the church. Just as it is possible to be offered or sold a coffee at almost any part of the day, in every sphere of life, whether in offices, schools, at home, on train stations, in planes, or on the road, we want to see an explosion of places where people can discover and learn what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. We can see this happening through established buildings and structures but we crucially anticipate it happening through a multitude of new and creative approaches and whole range of places and spheres.