Our vision at Christ Church is to become a vibrant community that is learning to live life in Christ, wherever God has placed us. Our primary focus therefore is on prayerfully supporting and practically equipping one another to be authentic Christ followers in the whole of our lives. But how do we do that?
These have been at the heart of this process of ‘disciple-making’ over many years, offering opportunities to share stories of the pressures people are facing as well as reasons for celebration and answered prayer. Through study of the scriptures and lively discussion of contemporary issues faith has been built and applied to everyday life. Many groups have taken initiatives to engage in mission, whether it be in the local community or in partnership with international mission agencies. Through a commitment to meet regularly together trust has grown and friendships have deepened.
However, we recognise that belonging to a Homegroup may not be possible for everyone. Indeed, it may not be the most appropriate way to grow as a disciple of Jesus or be most effective in helping others to discover more of their God-given potential. We are unique people, with our own personalities, degrees of responsibilities at home, in the workplace and in the life of the church and local community.
One size certainly does not fit all!
There are now emerging quite naturally a number of additional ways that are being explored, and we would want to encourage people to prayerfully consider being part of one or more of these options, which include:
For many years people have been meeting together to pray on a regular basis with a couple of other people. Sharing honestly together and praying for God’s blessing on one another renews strength and deepens faith. There is also the opportunity of course to pray for God’s blessing upon friends who the members of the triplet long to see coming to Christ. This may be extended to ‘blessing the community’ – its shops, schools, hospitals, clinics, the land etc. This simple form of blessing has seen significant transformation where it has been practiced. See for example the stories from Ffald-y-brenin in Pembrokeshire.
These began 2 years ago when 3 people (of the same sex) made a commitment to meet together once a month for a year. Each has a copy of ‘Discipleship Essentials’ by Greg Ogden which contains a range of Bible Studies and reflections related to key aspects of Christian living. Through the month, each person works through the material at their own pace, then shares their thoughts, discoveries and questions with the other 2 members of the Triad. Everything is centred around how the teaching works out in the situations those people are facing each week. The fact that there are just 3 in the group means that there is a high level of trust and therefore confidentiality and accountability. Prayer support is personal and specific; relationships become strong.
However, the commitment to meet together is accompanied by a commitment by each person to begin another Triad once the year has ended, with different people. Each person will invite 2 others they sense God is leading them to ask. Thus the group of 3 is multiplied to 3 groups of 3. The following year those 9 each invite another 3 each, then those 27 invite 3 more each and so on. The numbers become very large very quickly! Jesus called his disciples to be disciple-makers. This is fundamental to our church’s vision, and this approach is one way we can take small steps towards that goal. We already have a number of Discipleship Triads looking to multiply but there is no reason why new ones cannot start from scratch anytime and multiply over the years ahead.
‘Christian mentoring is a dynamic, intentional relationship of trust in which one person enables another to maximize the grace of God in their life and service’. (John Mallison).
At Christ Church an increasing number of people are meeting up with someone they can trust as a ‘mentor’who can reflect, encourage, guide and challenge them in their discipleship journey. For teenagers the TaG Mentoring programme sees young people age 14+ linking up with a youth leader once a month to explore how they might grow in different areas of their life and faith. This is happening with adults using a variety of resources such as 4Life, where a person follows a key theme such as Identity or Values, responds to questions in the booklet and then meets up with their mentor after say 3 weeks to discuss and reflect on the issues together.
Alpha Course and Nurture Groups
These continue to offer opportunities to explore what the Christian faith is all about or for those who would value a refresher course where they can meet together and grapple with issues of belief and lifestyle. These short courses often involve plenty of food and laughter within a safe space where no question is out of bounds and everyone is encouraged to express their ideas and doubts.
If you would like to know more about any of these or have other suggestions, please do get in touch with Jo Vickery or Paul Peterson. We believe that everyone could benefit significantly from one or more of these opportunities so that we’ll be better equipped to enjoy living the life!