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Eight Questions. Eight Churches. Eight Responses.

CONTENTS

Turn ‘yes, but’ into ‘let’s go!’

Making Disciples for Everyday Life is a series of articles addressing eight questions church leaders often ask about whole-life disciplemaking. Discover the experiences of leaders who are making progress in equipping people to follow Jesus in their Monday to Saturday lives.

Make disciples. Disciples who live and love in Jesus’ ways wherever they are, whatever they’re doing, whoever they’re with. Jesus did it. He calls us to do the same.

We want to… But questions abound.

What would it look like in a church like ours? How do we make sure it’s not just one more flash in the pan? Will a focus on mission beyond the church kill our church-based initiatives? How could I even begin to make time for this?

All good questions. What emerges from these responses is an honest and heartening picture of local churches growing in fruitfulness as they become disciple-forming communities. And each section includes practical suggestions for how you could do the same in your church.

As you engage with their stories, may your legitimate ‘yes, buts’ be transformed into a holy ‘let’s go!’

INTRODUCTION

Turning ‘yes, but’ into ‘let’s go!’

Making disciples who are ready to serve God in all of their lives is exciting. But it can also be daunting. Joe Warton introduces the series and explores how church leaders can turn a legitimate ‘yes, but’ into a holy ‘let’s go!’

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Why does whole-life disciplemaking really, really matter?

CHRIST CHURCH, DOWNEND

As someone involved in church leadership, chances are you already have plenty on your plate. Then you start thinking about trying to shift the culture within your church to better encourage whole-life disciples. So, you begin to ask yourself, ‘it’s important, but does whole-life disciplemaking really, really matter…?’

The folk at Christ Church, Downend, think the answer to that question is ‘yes’.

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How do we learn about people’s lives?

ST ANDREW’S & ALL SAINTS, MALVERN

Having some idea of what people’s day-to-day lives are like is foundational for equipping them as whole-life disciples. If we want to help people serve and follow Jesus in their everyday contexts, we will need to know something about those contexts. So, when their life is very different to your life, how do you learn about theirs?

Dave Bruce, Team Rector at St Andrew’s & All Saints, shares some helpful insights.

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What might Sundays look like?

WEST OF ENGLAND BAPTIST ASSOCIATION

Most churches have a rhythm of meeting weekly on a Sunday. But, whatever day, however often, and whatever style, the times where Christians gather for communal worship are significant in forming character, lifestyle, relationships between people, and relationships with God.

Lindsay Caplen, LICC Church Team member and West of England Baptist Association (WEBA) Regional Minister, shares how church services can play their part in this process.

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What about small groups?

BARROW BRIDGE MISSION – ST PETER’S PARISH, HALLIWELL

Most churches have them. Most churches have different names for them: home groups, small groups, life groups, cell groups, connect groups – whatever you call them, they exist. And they can be excellent environments not only to study the Bible and get to know one another, but to disciple one another in the ways of Jesus.

Carolyn Rigby and Keith Forrester belong to Barrow Bridge Mission, part of the parish of St Peter’s, Halliwell, Greater Manchester. They share how their small group are helping one another follow Jesus in all of life.

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Will this reduce commitment levels to what we already do?

THE PEOPLE’S CHURCH BANBURY

A host of questions arise in many church leaders’ minds when they begin thinking about making whole-life disciples. ‘Will this emphasis on the importance of what people do outside of church life devalue what happens inside it? Will people become less engaged? And will this mean I, as a leader, have even less time to do all the other stuff I need to get done?’

These are legitimate questions. The People’s Church, in Banbury can help us begin to answer them.

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How can I equip people for the different ages and stages of life?

GODMANCHESTER BAPTIST CHURCH

People at different ages and stages of life, people in different kinds of work and family contexts will have their own set of unique challenges and opportunities. When it comes to discipling them, a ‘one size fits all’ approach won’t do. Everyone’s life is different, and each individual life passes through different seasons. Where do we even start?

Joe Warton learnt a bit about this during his time as Discipleship Pastor at Godmanchester Baptist Church.

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Can whole-life disciplemaking work in a church like ours?

TODAY’S COMMUNITY CHURCH, WIGAN

Some church leaders like the thought of growing their churches to be whole-life disciplemaking communities, but they wonder what it might look like in a church like theirs or if it’s even possible. LICC has worked with churches of all different sizes, locations, structures, histories, denominations, and styles. A whole-life disciplemaking culture can be developed in all.

Today’s Community Church in Wigan is just one example.

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How could we maintain a whole-life focus?

CHICHESTER BAPTIST CHURCH

Those of us who’ve been around the church scene for a while can be rightly sceptical about perspectives and practices that are fashionable for a season, but get discarded when the next big thing hits. If whole-life discipleship is biblical, and of ongoing importance, how do we stop it from being a passing fad? How do we embed it into the DNA of our churches?

Ellen Wild and Ken Benjamin, both ministers at Chichester Baptist Church, offer some helpful reflections.

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So what next?

If you’re convinced that whole-life disciplemaking really matters, but aren’t sure how to get started, don’t worry – it’s simpler than you think! Try these seven small steps this year to begin transforming your church.

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Start now with Frontline Sundays

Wondering how to inspire your congregation for whole-life discipleship? Frontline Sundays is everything you need to lead five Sunday services that will affirm and celebrate your congregation for everyday mission, wherever they are.

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MEET THE CHURCH TEAM

Have your own questions? Let the Church Team help!

Back in 2012, we published Neil Hudson’s book, Imagine Church, with IVP. It was the product of a three-year project working with a range of churches, with the aim of developing a vision and practice of how to make whole-life disciples. One of the big takeaways was that regardless of style, size, location, or denomination, church communities really can equip people to live for Jesus in their day-to-day contexts, as we hope these eight churches show.

Since then, the LICC Church Team have worked with hundreds of church leaders across many different traditions, both in the UK and overseas. As we consult, deliver training, run workshops and learning hubs, and develop new resources, we are learning all the time. We are continually shaping and sharpening our thinking and practice through conversations and relationships with church leaders and members, like the ones in this book.

So if you are looking for wisdom, resources, or training, we are here for you. See what we offer or get in touch by visiting our Church page below.

Church Page

Buy the booklet

Want a physical copy of the articles on this page to keep or share with a friend? Click below to purchase a copy of Making Disciples for Everyday Life on our webshop.

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