Forming and sending disciples
Encouraging one another in everyday faith
Our vision is to enable the whole people of God to feel confident and equipped to become more Christ-like for the sake of God’s world. It’s about renewing and re-igniting the faith of every person to find and follow God in everyday life.
This year we have faced unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19. Lockdown has been difficult and has also brought new insights, opportunities and challenges in the way in which we support, nurture and form one another to be more Christ-like. Gathering together in different ways in our church community is vital. This can be strengthened by having someone alongside us, to listen and encourage us on our own journey.
If you are new to faith or enquiring, scroll down this page to find out more about catechesis. There’s also a huge range of resources available to support you right now in your everyday faith.
Discipleship and Everyday faith
There isn’t a prescriptive list of things to do to become more Christ-like, it will differ for everyone, but we want people to be confident talking about God in their everyday lives, seeing the world as Christ sees it, and experiencing a greater, fuller life in God from Sunday to Saturday.
It’s about renewing and re-igniting the everyday faith of every person in every church. The need is vital. Did you know that 59 per cent of Christians surveyed recently said their church does not equip them well for life in today’s world?
We think that people grow in their faith when they can take responsibility for their development and develop a helpful structure within which to grow. We’ve developed some ideas to help people feel more confident and equipped to live out the good news of Jesus in all areas of their life.
- Gifts for Everyday Faith
A simple questionnaire designed to help you think through where your gifts are strongest. It can be used on its own, as the first step in a Personal Discipleship Plan or as one of the individual exercises in a Parish Planning Tool process. Once completed, you’re invited to reflect and talk about making the most of your gifts in everyday life with your church leader or encourager.
- The Personal Discipleship Plan (PDP)
Each of us has a unique calling, the principle underpinning a Personal Discipleship Plan is that everybody is given the opportunity to have a positive and encouraging conversation about their faith, to support them in responding to their calling. You will be encouraged to reflect upon how you are nourishing your faith, where you are noticing God in your life and how you can share your gifts in your everyday life. The feedback to PDPs has been overwhelming from the many people who are participating with these positive conversations. They’ve told us that their one to one conversations have been a crucial element in sustaining and encouraging them in recent months. Watch Revd Tina Molyneux explain a little more about PDPs and how you could benefit.
- The Firepit
A Firepit is a space for a small group to talk about daily life and issues about everyday faith can be shared. Some groups have been meeting online to provide fellowship, encouragement, support and accountability. And you’ll share stories of how God is active and present and working for good in your lives. This can be a new group or an existing group of friends.
- Gifts for Everyday Faith
Case study: Paul’s story, using a Personal Discipleship Plan
This short film is a conversation between Paul and his mentor about the difference a PDP has made to his life and his faith journey.
Where are we now?
Many churches and deaneries are offering Personal Discipleship Plans today, ask your church leader if they are on offer in your church. We remain greatly encouraged about the impact our approach to increasing confidence in Everyday Faith is making across the Diocese of Oxford. Already, over 400 people have been trained as encouragers and can accompany people on a personal discipleship journey. ‘Encourager training’ is now available on Zoom and can be arranged by contacting Tina.Molyneux@oxford.anglican.org This is something that you can adapt to suit your church community, and Tina will be delighted to support you in doing this. Our hope is that everyone in our churches will be able to benefit from an opportunity to be encouraged and supported in sharing their God-given gifts from Sunday to Saturday.
How can I get this started in my church?
Step 1 Your church leader/ minister should have a conversation with Tina to talk it through.
Step 2. Arrange the Encourager Training through Tina.Molyneux@oxford.anglican.org. You invite a group from your church who may be interested in becoming ‘encouragers’. The initial training is 2 hours on Zoom, and timings can be arranged to suit your own group.
Step 3. The ‘encouragers’ have their first conversations with each other to experience the process.
Who leads this in my church?
The Personal Discipleship Plan process is overseen and supervised by your vicar.
What am I looking for in the people who are in my team of ‘Encouragers’?
You are looking for people who are good listeners, mature in their faith, trustworthy and confidential, who are not judgemental. It is likely this will include clergy, Licenced and Authorised Ministers, Youth and Children’s leaders, small group leaders, pastoral visitors and people who are mentors in the workplace.
What safeguarding training is required for the ‘Encouragers’?
All encouragers would need Safeguarding Training at Foundation level. Some Encouragers will need Safeguarding at Leadership level. All Safeguarding training is now available from the Diocese on-line for the coming season. Further details on Safeguarding requirements are covered in the initial training.
How long does a PDP last?
The first PDP conversation is normally about an hour. After this you would arrange a follow up conversation every 3 or 4 months. At each meeting you discuss the 2/3 next steps you agreed and plan further next steps. There is no end date on a discipleship journey. It is recommended that after two meetings participants should be asked how it is going and have the option of a new encourager or a break. It is likely that over time different ‘encouragers’ may accompany, support and inspire you forward according to your calling.
We are living in a time that is not unlike the Reformation when technology is changing the way we communicate. The renewal of catechesis – the discipline of forming, making and sending disciples in the life of the Church – is urgent, argues Bishop Steven. He has been exploring this ancient-future discipline of helping to form adult Christians in the faith for over 30 years.
The Christian tradition has a name for this discipline of introducing people to Jesus. It is catechesis, which means laying the good foundations of faith in the lives of enquirers and new Christians.
But, says Bishop Steven, it doesn’t end there: “Once a person has learned the faith for the first time and come to baptism and confirmation, then year by year that faith and understanding are deepened within the framework of the great story of salvation lived out and expressed in our liturgy. The story is revisited over and over again at different stages of life and of faith development.”
If you’re new to faith, keen to develop your faith or a minister looking for preaching resources, scroll down for further information.
Personal Discipleship Plan
Listen online or subscribe
Start a small group or firepit
Use these resources
Try out this ‘noticing’ prayer
Ideas for these times