What is discipleship?

Monday, 25 June, 2012

A selection of pioneers and leaders reflect on what discipleship means to them.

Duration: 6:40   | Download Download video (flv) | Download Download video (wmv) | View on YouTube


Pete Hughes, KXC, London: I think discipleship is critical to the life of the church, but I also think discipleship is far less structured than we sometimes think it should be. So I mean courses can be great but in my experience the best process for discipleship is just hanging out with people. I think discipleship happens in the context of community. So as people just come to the socials or come to Sunday services they're hanging out with people that are in love with God and I think a lot is just transferred in the relationship.

Louisa Berry, safespace: It's a much more intense experience of church than I've experienced before in terms of relationships with people. Everyone has at some point been supported by the community. In terms of feeling that sense of family and community it's been stronger for me than other church experiences have been.

Tim Yau, Pioneer Minister: Discipleship is not knowledge - head knowledge. I mean maybe that's part of it but it's a life lived. And people only get that if they... if you're on that journey with them, if you're living their life with them. so for me it's about being with the people where they are, whether it's at home, at work, you know - seeing what it's like naturally and helping them to reflect on what Christ, what the message of the gospel looks like in those places. So it's a lot more kind of embodied I think. And you might never even pick up coursework and look at that but helping them to kind of see how does Jesus fit into this, how does he fit into my life, I think that's more for me what discipleship is about.

Richard Passmore, StreetSpace: We're seeing fruit but it's fruit in a different sort of way. It might not be the traditional type of thing that we see but we're definitely growing community and building a sense of community and discipleship with the young people. The heart of God wanting to reach to his people hasn't changed. The language and the ways that he's doing it is all that's changing. For me the key verse and the key hope of the project would be the idea that Christ came that people might have life - and life in all its fullness. And so for me I want the young people I work with - and I want the whole community - to experience life and the fullness of life.

Ben Gardner, The Lounge@Costa: Discipleship is essential within any Christian, within their journey getting to know Christ and being with Christ and being with other Christians. So discipleship is a key part and we're experimenting with different things. Sometimes we have question time in our monthly events where people can come with any questions that they want to ask about God and faith and we try and bring in people that are actually in the workplace and Christians to answer those questions. So we've tried to do that. But again it's on a monthly basis and we don't have that consistency with the people we're trying to disciple.

Juliet Kilpin, Urban Expression: I think we do live in a culture where we like to have quick answers and we like to have instant results and I think that's why a lot of courses perhaps seem to be quite popular. We don't have to do a lot of thinking about it, we can just run it. But I think that actually we live in a context where for those of us involved in discipleship, we need to do a lot of big thinking. I think people are starting from different starting points, so having a discipleship course that is just looking at the same subjects that every other discipleship course looks at but just in a different way, that isn't necessarily going to begin at the place that people are starting at. So we may need to start at a different starting point. I think we're in a culture where things have changed so much that, you know, perhaps some of the themes that we emphasise in a lot of discipleship courses aren't necessarily the themes that resonate with people straight away. So, do we live in a context where people feel guilty for example? So do we need to talk about guilt straight away on a discipleship course, or can that come later on? What are the primary things that people are needing to learn about? Are they the starting points of our discipleship rather than some of the doctrinal facts that we regularly include in those courses?

Dave Matthews, Tubestation: [in background: and so they can compare that copy...] I'm doing more discipleship, whether in small groups or individuals or in Sunday teaching than I've ever done! I'll just go through a bible passage and explain it and... but I'm much more interested in where people are at and the questions they ask. We don't have a programme as such, it's just bible and questions that we're looking at. I mean at the moment, my favourite thing is going through Mark's gospel and loads of things come as we just look at the Scriptures together.

Sue Butler, Thirst Café Church: I mean I would absolutely say that it is 'caught and not taught'. They'll pray because we've said well we pray every day. One of the things that's come up more recently has been about giving, that people have began to think about financial giving. I think one of the nicest comments was once made, way back when we started and we were talking about helping out somebody in the community that had had a disaster in their family and somebody said, well, if we're the church, shouldn't we be giving - and then she looked across at me and she said, well we are the church aren't we?

Arun Arora, Wolverhampton Pioneer Ministries: There's much more of an emphasis here on being church rather than doing church. How we are with each other every day is part of who we are as a church. And to be people who will unashamedly talk about Jesus Christ, who will unashamedly talk about being disciples of Jesus and the struggles that that presents. But we'll be able to talk about it with passion, with integrity, with authenticity. But to do so in a way that's trying to engage and be that yeast in the dough, reflecting on Jesus' own parables about building the kingdom.

Mary Styles, Footsteps, Rome: Given that we're unsure how long people are going to stay and often unsure of exactly where they are in their Christian journey, over the years I've come to realise that we just need to live each day as it comes as the gospel tells us. And assume I'm not going to end up making a complete full disciple ever, but I might be planting a seed, I might be watering something that somebody else has planted and so just exhibiting Christian values, studying bits of the Bible - not being able to do a whole bible study with somebody, just little pieces that... just trust the Holy Spirit will put into part of the big jigsaw for that particular person.


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