On Tuesday 3rd November, Christ Church hosted 44 church leaders and their teams as they discovered more about LICC’s whole life discipleship approach to our mission as Christians.
Tasting Danish pastries as well as new ideas, guests from as near as Mangotsfield and as far away as Swindon, Wells and Clevedon heard Neil Hudson from LICC inspire them about how every church member has a unique and important role to play in carrying out Jesus instructions to “Go and make disciples of all nations” , starting where they are.
There was a buzz of excitement as Neil described a shift in how we might see church. Instead of overstretched leaders and servers running many church programmes, yet with few new Christians coming through the door, imagine a church where every person had a sense of purpose about their daily life and how they might be fruitful there for Christ.
Changing the focus from making mission all about what the church does to being mainly about what individuals do the rest of the week, throws a new light on everything we do as church. It brings a new sense of urgency to gathered worship on a Sunday: what can we preach, sing, pray, discuss that will be relevant to equip people for where they will be the rest of the week? Instead of people feeling guilty for what they can’t do to help with church programmes, and undervalued for what they are actually doing, they can feel valued for the unique part they play wherever they are. They can challenge their leaders to be relevant and to equip them effectively. They can bring stories back to share what they’ve been up to and where they’ve seen God at work. They can make a difference and be fruitful where they are now. They can invite their leaders to their frontline to show them what they need equipping for and what is there to be celebrated!
“Frontlines”, “whole life disciples” and “one degree shifts” are images that we hear a lot around the place at Christ Church, not because we are obsessed with jargon, but because they are helpful images and short hand that LICC have developed, to get across some crucial ideas: that we all represent Jesus whenever we spend time with non Christians; that we are all learners throughout our lives; that if we want our church time together to truly equip us for the rest of the week then we can make little changes in the way we do things, that over time will have a big impact.
If you’re not familiar with these terms, or would like to understand some of the ideas more fully , please do talk to Jo or Paul, or the other Vision team members Adam Parfitt, Shahne Vickery, Nigel Stowe or Anita Dobson – perhaps first discussing with someone else in the church so you can check what their understanding is! You can also visit LICC’s web site: www.licc.org.uk and borrow resources such as the books Imagine Church, Frutifulness on the Frontlines, or the DVD Life on the Frontlines from the church library.
It was encouraging, as a church who have “got our teeth” into whole life discipleship a bit (though we have a long way to go- do feed back where we can equip you better!) to see light- bulb moments in many minds. LICC’s ideas are not necessarily new in themselves but well explained, resourced and presented in a way that makes sense. Neil Hudson’s style is warm and engaging, dwelling on the possible not on what we haven’t done and can’t do.
In 2016 we will take part in a Learning Hub run by LICC so that as we continue on our journey, we can share with other local churches.
God is blessing this national movement as we long to see our families, friends, neighbours and colleagues come to Christ.