Jesus commissioned his disciples to focus themselves on one main thing: disciple-making. Each of the gospels, in its own way, sends the disciples to "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you" (Matthew 28:19). In Luke the evangelist's words, they are sent to testify of all they have seen and heard by bearing witness "in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth." (Acts 1:8b). Until Jesus returns again, this is our main work and the animating vision that give our life meaning.
In Western Anglicans, we see that Jesus' main purpose of the church must be ours, so we are dedicating ourselves to support one another in this work. In 2016, we are taking steps together to strengthen our:
1. common understanding of this imperative.
2. commitment to further God's Kingdom through the work of making disciples who make disciples of Jesus.
For clergy, who are charged with pastoring missional communities of Christians, we are offering a support system through the Bonhoeffer Project, which gathers pastors for deep theological reflection on the purpose of the church and moves them toward a comprehensive plan for local church disciple making.
For laity, who are charged with partnering with the clergy and one another to "make disciples... to the end of the earth" we are inviting them to grow in their practice of disciple making through the Breakfast with Bonhoeffer Conversations.
While these efforts will inspire and encourage, the real equipping take place through practice. Consequently, we have gathered together some key lay leaders and formed the Bishop's Task Force On Disciple-Making in order to identify "best practices" that might be more easily and regularly disseminate throughout the diocese. In the future, there will be opportunities for specific training in areas that prove to bear the most fruit in the lives of everyday disciplers.
if you would like to know more about our efforts in this area or to participate in what God is doing among us, please contact Jenna Vazquez, the Bishop's Assistant, at firstname.lastname@example.org