The key challenge that came out of the East meets West Intentional Discipleship events in 2018 was how to be more intentional about our discipleship and what that might look like in our context. You can see more about this week here.
The pattern that their churches seem to adopt, as outlined by Jacob Bau, is intended to teach and equip the laity so that they can do ministry. This is very much aligned to all that is being expressed in Setting Gods People Free. They provide the following programmes:
- Enquirers of the faith.
- Developing leadership and ministries.
Below follow some courses and other resources which are recommended for churches in this country, of different traditions and social settings.
- Christianity Explored
Details about these and many more can be found here
Confirmation and baptism preparation courses are an ideal way to introduce people to discipleship. It is important that these are not seen as barriers preventing people from developing in faith, but steps to deeper commitment.
In addition to these, many people use the internet to find out things and it may well not be appropriate for them to wait for a course to start. These can be for people to do alone or with a mentor to discuss with them what they find and answer questions. Areas to recommend to explore are:
- Key web sites for people to explore faith with can be found here. Individuals can be left to look at these on their own or have a mentor which whom to discuss what they find and answer any questions. We have a page full of resources here
- 'Now a Christian'; here
- Moving On
- Holy Habits
- Discipleship Explored
- Freedom in Christ
More information on these can be found here.
- Community of St Chad. This provides a framework for discipleship with its rhythms of grace, a daily prayer book, and the possibility of a spiritual companion group as well as a course explaining the five rhythms of grace and quiet days. Details are here. Spiritual companion groups are designed for three people to share together their spiritual journey around the five rhythms of grace, and often meet monthly at a time to suit the members so it can be flexible each month.
- Life on the Frontline and Fruitfulness on the Frontline by LICC. These remind us that discipleship is about disciple-making discipleship. More on this and what the diocese offers is here.
- 'Jesus Shaped People' is a whole church discipleship programme designed for churches in an urban context and details are here.
- Christian Vision for Men have produced their Code for discipleship which has many practical things which can be applied to everyone. Details here.
- Reaching New Generations: Discipleship for 0-5s and Families here; Discipleship for 5-11s here; Discipleship for 11-18s here.
- Christians are also encouraged to spend time with God each day in prayer and bible study and there are numerous aids to help with this. In addition to these, many churches offer daily prayer in church or daily mass, for those for whom this is possible.
- Lichfield dioceses Spirituality team offer many ways of deepening the prayer life of the church which can be found here. Many have a spiritual companion and the Spirituality team can advise in finding one. They, and others, can advise on retreats, pilgrimages and Quiet Days which are also ideal ways of deepening discipleship.
- The diocese also offers the listening ear network for help on specific matters details here.
- Developing in the healing ministry can often be a catalyst for growth in faith and the diocese has Archdiaconal Healing Ministry Advisers (here) and the Diocesan Renewal Network (here).
- Many people find Filling Stations a place for deepening discipleship through Holy Spirit ministry (here).
- Lichfield dioceses Deliverance team provide a short course and an annual conference for people to explore this area of ministry. Further information about the Deliverance Team is here.
- There are numerous online courses to delve deeper for example Tom Wrights here. These can all be quite costly.
Leadership Training and Service
Much leadership training is done within the local church with local training and encouragement or learning by working alongside others. ‘Leadership development never happens accidentally.’
Churches use a variety of ways to discern gifts and callings and some are here.
The diocese offers 'Living Discipleship' for those exploring different forms of what was once known as authorised lay ministry. Details are here. In addition to this they offer a range of informal programmes to support ministries in the diocese and more details are here.
The Transforming Communities Department offer a range of courses to enable and equip church members to serve their communities (e.g. Dementia training). These can be found here.
The Spirituality Team offer three levels of training: Soul Food, Spiritual Listening, and the Art of Spiritual Direction and details are here.