What is a missionary disciple?

We see Jesus in the gospels calling and sending missionary disciples to transform the world in the power of the Spirit. All are called to live in this gracious and life giving rhythm of coming together to be with Jesus and being sent out (Mark 3.14).

But what does that mean?

We are a church of people whose lives are shaped by Jesus Christ. We participate in God's mission in and to the world. We are those that are called to gather around Jesus through worship, prayer and fellowship, and we're also called to be sent out by him, both in groups and individually, in the whole of our lives.

Sometimes it seems that it's the vicar's job, and we don't need to do anything but turn up on a Sunday. But actually, before Christian churches were established, Jesus was sending out disciples in the whole of life (Luke 10:1-17, Matthew 28:19-20). We are all called - regardless of who we are - to share God's love with others wherever we go.

For some, this might involve spreading love and encouragement. Others might belong to a workplace group, or might feel called to share faith with colleagues or friends at school. For others, faith in God is what gets them through difficult situations. Prayer is an important part of this.

God calls every one of us to be a missionary disciple. In the New Testament the same twelve who are named 'disciples' are also called 'apostles'. There is no point when they graduate from one to the other. They are always those who gather around Jesus and follow him. And they are always those who are sent out by him. 

It must be the same with us. We are called to gather around Jesus in worship, prayer and fellowship. In the power of the Holy Spirit, we are sent out by Jesus to be his witnesses and ambassadors in the world.

Find out more about missionary disciples as part of the Church of England's Vision and Strategy for the 2020s.

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