The Co-ordinator for Intentional Discipleship for the Anglican Communion, the Revd Jolyon Trickey, reflects on some recent consultations on Intentional Discipleship in Mozambique.
In August 2019, two Consultations on Intentional Discipleship were held in Mozambique, and could be a catalyst to seismic change in the country. They brought positive winds of change with potential to transform the Anglican Church in Mozambique and the entire Nation.
Two Mozambican bishops, Vicente Msosa and Carlos Matsinhe gathered clergy and laity; men, women and youth, for four days in Lichinga and Lebombo. They had seen and heard about the impact of similar consultations in Jamaica, Ghana and Malawi. This was their response to a nine year “Season of Intentional Discipleship and Disciple-Making” inaugurated in April 2016 by a resolution of the Anglican Consultative Council meeting in Lusaka, Zambia.
One of the facilitators, Canon Mark Oxbrow, writes:
“The programme followed a now standard pattern of Anglican Communion Whole-life Discipleship consultations. After an introductory session on Whole-life Discipleship, full days followed on each of:
- discipleship in the family
- discipleship in work
- discipleship that transforms community and
- discipleship and the environment
We also reflected on how discipleship could transform the whole nation of Mozambique”.
As part of his introduction Mark emphasised that discipleship is about a “way of life”, changing our behaviour at work, in the community, towards our spouse and even in our leisure time. It is also life-long – we can never say we have finished being disciples! Participants were encouraged to share with neighbours their own journey of faith based three telling questions:
- Who discipled me?
- Who is discipling me now?
- Who am I discipling now?
In a further session, the other facilitator, Canon John Kafwanka, Director of Mission at the Anglican Communion, reflected upon a common concern across denominations and continents. “Whilst the Christian faith is being believed and individuals find a home in worshipping Christian communities, there is a pressing need to ‘follow Jesus’ daily in a way that attracts others to discover the life transforming experience of knowing and following Jesus Christ”.
Our lived out faith is as powerful a witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ as any preaching or verbal proclamation.
The content of the second day offers an insight into the practical, collective and action oriented nature of these consultations.
First, a Bible study on “the worker shaped by Jesus”, drawing on examples of workers in the Bible and from Colossians 3:23 and Proverbs 14:23a, helping us see the Church’s unique understanding of work compared with that of wider society.
Second, the imperative of character formation was applied to effective Christian witness in each sphere of society: as a Christian community we need to nurture and support one another as intentional disciples in education, business, the arts and media, and every other sphere of society.
“The final section of this day and each day”, Canon Oxbrow said, “encouraged preparation of archdeaconry action plans for support of disciples in this area (work). These considered resources available or required and the time scale in which to implement plans. Archdeacons and participants themselves were encouraged to monitor implementation and progress.”
At the end of both consultations, Niassa & Lebombo Dioceses committed to on-going programmes for intentional discipleship. Watch this space for seismic change in Church and Nation.
Maybe a consultation also offers an effective way to catalyse change in your context and to respond to the call to intentional discipleship?