Bishops prioritise discipleship training

Making the most of the Decade of Discipleship

Recent news from South Africa is exciting – Rooted in Jesus has been introduced to the Diocese of the Free State, and reinforced in the Diocese of Natal; in both cases alongside training for our companion discipleship programme The God Who is There. Revd Trevor Pearce and a team from Growing the Church led the training conferences, Bishop Dintoe of Free State is leading the way with a group of his own, and lives are already being changed – to find out how see the blog report https://rootedinjesus.blog/2018/08/08/bishops-prioritise-discipleship-training/
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Trevor Pearce introduces ‘The God Who is There’


New translations

As Rooted in Jesus is introduced to new people groups, new translations have to be made into local languages. Recent work by our partners means that it is now available in whole or in part in Lunda (for Zambia), Luhya (for Kenya) and Kumam (for Uganda). In recent months we have also adapted the Swahili translation for use in DR Congo. Rooted in Jesus has now been translated into 44 languages!
Meanwhile in the Diocese of Bunyoro Kitara, Diocesan Coordinator Joyce Asaba has written to request more copies of Book 4 in the local language of Runyoro. She writes: “Group Members say that they have really benefited from the course and some have become leaders and formed other groups. They also say that scripture memory has indeed helped them in ministry and in their daily lives. Others say that their lives have changed completely. So please we need more prayers because now some churches are picking up interest in RinJ and have started.”

 

Mark sees the lives of group members changing in Binikira, Diocese of  Mityana

Rooted in Jesus often gives new impetus to the ministry of a church leader, and this is the case for Mark. John Musaasizi reports: “Jethro and I visited Binikira Church. Towards the end of the service Mark the trainer of Rooted Jesus at Binikira and I peacefully walked out to address the newly born in Christ Jesus together with those who gave their lives to Jesus years earlier. Some of the members had old lifestyles they felt were not compatible with the New Life in Christ. We could not provide solutions to all questions. We left it to Mark to deal with issues as they surfaced during his Rooted in Jesus training. Mark is one of the best Rooted in Jesus trainers we have in the Diocese of Mityana. He has already indicated his readiness to train the entire church membership.”
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Whole congregations follow Rooted in Jesus in Mityana


Doing your bit –  the new Amazon Smile programme

Finally, back to home and your own buying of books. Amazon have a new scheme – when you buy a book (or indeed anything else) from them, they will ask you to let them donate to your favourite charity. The Mathetes Trust is registered with them as an approved charity – so if you choose us, you are helping whole communities find out what it means to follow Jesus! And it costs you nothing at all…

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Posted 9th August 2018

Making Disciples in North Wingfield

MATHETES TRUST MISSION AT ST LAWRENCE CHURCH NORTH WINGFIELD, 17 – 24 JUNE 2018

The Mathetes Trust exists to help promote a culture of discipleship and disciple-making within the local church, and one of the ways we do this is by helping with parish missions. Over the last few months we have been working closely with Colin Cooper and St Lawrence, North Wingfield (near Chesterfield), and in June Roger Morgan led a full ten day mission titled ‘Love North Wingfield’, staffed by a joint team of people from the local church and visitors from the Mathetes Trust. We were very encouraged by the way things went – not just because of the many people who responded to an invitation to enter into a relationship with Jesus, but also because we feel that we are learning a huge amount about how an ordinary church can grow today. Here’s a report from Colin, followed by some reflections on mission from Roger.

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Team Rector Colin Cooper writes:
“North Wingfield is an ex-mining village with a population of about 7,500 people. It is mainly working to lower middle class in its social make-up and is generally a friendly and pleasant place to live.
“This mission took place as part of a year of mission from St Lawrence Church with the title ‘Love North Wingfield’. The church prepared for the mission using the Beautiful Lives material and it followed the usual Mathetes Trust style of special events, home meetings and door-to-door visits with a ‘Home’ team of 14 and an ‘Away’ team of 12, forming a foundation of personnel enabling the wider church to engage in mission.  We were blessed with beautiful weather which enabled us to use to full advantage the light summer days and evenings.
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“The church at St Lawrence responded very well to the challenge and most took some kind of part with real generosity shown in providing hospitality of different kinds.  Perhaps the greatest blessing (among many) was the emergence of a committed and competent group of  people trained and excited about the future and evangelism.
“All special events were well organised and well-attended with around 600 people attending them in total (there was obviously some overlap as some people attended multiple events) with clear Gospel teaching from Roger Morgan, Richard Scott and Gary Ralls.  Personal contact was made with 115 people on the doors (although many more doors were knocked). By the end of the week, 16 people prayed a prayer of commitment to Christ following a ‘Bridge’ presentation and another 20 are being followed up as meaningful contacts. 2 small Alpha groups have begun, with another small group studying Mark’s gospel.  If there was a disappointment, it was the relatively small uptake on the Alpha course, leaving me to question whether this is the right approach for reaching completely unchurched people.

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“This mission was a pleasure to be part of and was made possible by the amazing commitment of Roger and his ‘Away’ team, and the hard work and commitment of St Lawrence ‘Home ‘ team and other church members who played a full part.  We are now looking forward to future outreach and mission in the Autumn and 2019 as the ‘Love North Wingfield’ project continues.”

So what are we learning about mission?

We all know that the typical local church has seen its membership decline over recent decades. A huge amount of energy has been poured into trying to do something about this, with initiatives of all kinds both local and national. Many of these are innovative and experimental, and many are bearing fruit. But the trouble is that many ordinary churches feel that these initiatives are beyond their reach; they require entrepreneurial skills, technological ability, financial resources, dynamic full time staff, and lots of time.
So what about the ordinary church whose ordinary members have ordinary skills and live in an ordinary place? Colin had been told by one national leader that he was simply too old to grow his church – only churches with young leaders grow! North Wingfield is short on innovation, resources, and youthfulness. And yet it is growing…
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How did they do it?

Colin is a member of one of our EQUIP support groups for church leaders, and has been meeting three times a year with Roger and a group of local colleagues to think and pray together about how to grow his church. Colin decided that a simple strategy was the best. He invited the entire church to start by exploring their own discipleship. “I want to provide a way for people to explore what it means to be a follower of Jesus which is thorough, interesting and which does not ‘soft sell’ the demands of discipleship,” Colin wrote. He ordered copies of our discipleship programme The God Who is There, and the church met in small groups over a period of two years. Those who complete the course emerge with a strong personal faith, a strong fellowship with one another, and a shared determination to share that faith with anyone who is attracted by it.
Colin followed this discipleship training with a focus on evangelism. How do we equip ourselves, as disciples of Jesus, to share our faith with others? He used Roger’s Beautiful Lives course. 1 Peter 3.2-4 speaks of the beauty and reverence which should characterise our lives as Christians, and the course is built on the assumption that it is beautiful lives, lived in the power of the Holy Spirit, which lead others to faith. Disciples of Jesus are people who are gradually being transformed into the likeness of Jesus. They have something to share, something which is found not in glitzy programmes but within our own, ordinary hearts.

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Beautiful Lives encourages people to reflect on their own story, to share it in gentle ways, to invite their friends and neighbours to attractive and appropriate events which help them to find out more. And that is what the mission was based on. Church members talked with their friends and invited them to things they thought they’d enjoy. The mission team knocked on doors and invited people to some of those things too. People came, people responded, and Jesus was made known.
So over the last two years St Lawrence has pursued a strategy focussed solely and simply on discipleship; the mission flowed out of that, and out of the mission has come not just new disciples, but a new conviction that the church has in some sense found a pathway to growth. If we are not excited about Jesus, no one else will be either – and the people of St Lawrence have a new determination to forge forwards in mission.

 

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How about you?

We think any church could do this! If you think we can help, please do get in touch.

Find out more about growing disciples with The God Who is There here

Find out more about evangelism with Beautiful Lives here

Find out more about parish missions with the Mathetes Trust here

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All those who responded to the invitation to find out more about Jesus were given a copy of Decision, a simple illustrated guide to becoming a Christian.

Mind the Gap!

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Making disciples in Africa

We have just published a blog post “Mind the gap!” with recent news from the Diocese of Toliara, Madagascar, where it seems that all the churches now have Rooted in Jesus Junior groups; children quote memory verses to their congregations, and such is the excitement about the programme that they have made T shirts with the RinJ logo on them to promote it! Read the post here, and enjoy some inspiring personal challenges from those working there.
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The newly built Tulear cathedral has become a hub of prayer
Meanwhile in Uganda John Musaasizi continues with his tireless visits to group leaders, this time moving rocks from the road with his bare hands in order to get through in his hired car; on every visit people give their lives to Christ. Why does John go to such lengths? “Rooted in Jesus training multiplies church membership,” he says simply.
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Canon John and Canon Edith do not give up easily…
And Nelson Saya has travelled again to the South Sudanese refugee camps in Uganda to provide further training for the fledgling Rooted in Jesus groups meeting there – 20 people have given their lives to Christ, and the groups are growing: “Many people are experiencing the power of God at work in their lives during the studies; they are growing strong in their faith, and it has enabled families to put their trust in God.”
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Rooted in Jesus training in the Zone 2 refugee camp


Making disciples at home

We will write soon with news from our latest parish mission, in Chesterfield. In the meantime we are pleased to announce that we have just reprinted our Beautiful Lives evangelism course, which was a key part of the preparation for the mission – find out more about that here.
Finally, can we commend a new book by Arani Sen, who has seen steady growth among both the English and the Iranian communities in his inner city parish of Upper Armley, Leeds. Arani writes compellingly about how people come to faith when churches pursue a gospel-centred policy of social engagement. It’s called Holy Spirit Radicals: Pentecost, Acts and Changed Society, it offers  a dynamic and contemporary reading of Luke and Acts, and it’s out in July!
We have just released our latest prayer diary, covering the months July to September. If you would like a copy just let us know.

 

North Wingfield Mission 16-24th June 2018

Thank you to all those who have offered to pray for us during this week of mission, when Roger will be taking a visiting team of eleven people to North Wingfield near Chesterfield.
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Roger was in North Wingfield last weekend meeting up with the forty people from the church, mostly very inexperienced, who have agreed to work with us during the mission week. The response was very positive. They learned how to share the gospel. They learned what is involved in doing follow up, and they each agreed times when they will invite friends to their homes to meet the visiting team. We identified 250 people with whom they already have close relationships; the priority of the mission week will be to reach these 250.
On Sunday the sermon was about the Holy Spirit. There was an invitation to come for prayer and the response was overwhelming. They were all in different places but all needing the Spirit to bring changes to their lives and ministry. Roger was particularly pleased about one person with a very painful knee who was much better half an hour after the prayer and walking well. God’s presence was manifest last weekend; let’s pray for more during the week when the team is there.
To find out more visit the St Lawrence North Wingfield website.

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Preparing for mission

As part of their preparation for the mission, church members have been following our discipleship course The God Who is There. Rector Colin Cooper writes:
“We are an active church. During 2016-2017 up to 60 people have engaged with the Beyond Ourselves and The New Community courses. We began Shining Like Stars in September. This means clear biblical teaching about being a disciple of Jesus is becoming established in the DNA of St Lawrence Church. 
This has represented a focus on building up the core congregation both spiritually and numerically (longer standing members are reporting spiritual growth and new people have joined). Our community connection is good with a growing ‘wider fringe’ through Messy Church, Messy Extra, Baptisms, Small Wonders and St Lawrence Pre-School. 
From this strong position 2018 should be a season of reaching out into our community in mission.”
The aim is that the mission should be followed by an ALPHA course, and that those completing ALPHA will then be invited to grow further in discipleship by joining a Beyond Ourselves group.
To find out more about Beyond Ourselves, The New Community and Shining Like Stars please visit our Discipleship page. To find out more about how we can support you through a parish mission visit our Missions page.

Did you know?

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North Wingfield is listed in the Domesday Book (1087)  – by which time it already had a priest and a church! The gospel has been passed down from generation to generation here for over a thousand years – and it’s still going on. Let’s pray for the church as they reach out to their friends and neighbours next month.
Posted 22 May 2018

There is Love in Dover

One of the things we do at the Mathetes Trust is provide support, training and teams for parish missions, either for a single church or for a group of churches working together.  In March we were pleased to help with a mission organised by Anglican ministers Josias de Souza and Sean Sheffield, under the title ‘There is Love in Dover.’

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Josias and Sean were working in partnership with their colleagues from other denominations: Graham (Baptist), Gary (Lighthouse Church), Henry (The Ark), Marcus (Living Well) and Dave (Roman Catholic). Roger Morgan and Richard Scott brought an ‘away’ team of members from our Kent EQUIP group of church leaders and from Through Faith Missions. And there was a much larger ‘home team’ of local people.
Richard writes:

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Training sessions were run by Richard and by Roger in advance of the mission, with some 90 people taking part. During the mission week approximately 30 local people joined in door to door work; they included a homeless man, Lee, who recommitted his life during the mission, served us meals and worked with us. His faith had initially sparked after surviving a motorbike accident aged 29. A low point recently saw him helicoptered from a cliff – but this week gave him hope for a better future. He would also receive new accommodation at the end of the week.
A separate team of 5 Brazilians worked throughout the week in schools. They were joined by a small UK youth team from PAES for one day.

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HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE MISSION

Weekdays began with worship in our hub at Dover Baptist Church. We talked with many people during the week.
  • One young man showed interest, despite having been stabbed previously by his Christian ex-wife! Dover is a tough place with so many walking around apparently hopeless. Another man told me, “I don’t envy what you’re doing, talking to people” – but took a booklet.
  • In a school, Josias’ talk went so well that after giving out invitations to events this week, some kids asked for more for their friends.
  • Gary told of meeting a young man with a can of solvent in one hand on the doors yesterday. Wrapping the can in the questionnaire then receiving a booklet, it was a picture of light coming into his darkness.
  • Clare asked why her husband had been murdered in Folkestone harbour last August. He was a traveller, with 7 children. Offered hope, she brought one daughter to that evening’s talk “Why do bad things happen to good people” and after speaking to the Deacon @ the Beacon, joined this church afterwards.
  • Another lady, Bridie, came to Christ, whilst Sean was the right person to direct a 21 year old pregnant girl (Courtenay) with some faith, to Mums & Todds and to answer her baptism request
  • A young goth, tattooed from head to foot, received prayer and – like so many this week – was open to ALPHA.
  • Terry attended a 50 year lady who wanted to end it all, but who ended up praying the prayer. Another single parent had had enough. Life was tough, benefits issues etc. Asking God for a sign, the next day our boys turned up!
Throughout the week God blessed church unity and the number of locals involved. Sean Sheffield wrote afterwards: “I just wanted to thank you once again for your support, guidance and your input into the There is Love in Dover mission week. It was wonderful to work alongside you and to share the experience of the week. I know from conversations with others, that the training events you ran really made the difference to those who attended feeling somewhat unsure about whether to go out or not.”

WHAT NEXT? 

The aim is for mission, including door to door visiting, to continue – with a repeat mission in 2019/20.

PARISH MISSIONS WITH THE MATHETES TRUST

If you would like to find out more about how we can help with planning, training and resourcing of parish missions please visit our Parish Mission page, send us an email or give us a call!

Join Our Team

 

 

 

 

Easter 2018: Looking back, looking ahead

“For the love of Christ urges us on, because we are convinced that one has died for all; therefore all have died. And he died for all, so that those who live might live no longer for themselves, but for him who died and was raised for them.

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“From now on, therefore, we regard no one from a human point of view; even though we once knew Christ from a human point of view, we know him no longer in that way.  So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation;  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
1 Corinthians 5.14-21
The Crucifixion, by Emilia Maggio.

 

Rooted in Jesus Annual Report

We have just published the Rooted in Jesus Annual Report for the year 2017. It includes news from the seven dioceses in which we ran conferences as well as feedback from those who have continued to use Rooted in Jesus in places where we have previously offered training. It has been encouraging and humbling to receive so much positive feedback, often from places where life is very difficult.

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We have posted the report in two formats:
  • Download the report as a pdf file HERE
  • Read online on your phone or PC HERE
In the meantime we continue with our calling to help foster a culture of discipleship both here in the UK and in Africa, mindful of the Great Commission and hugely grateful for the prayer and support we receive. Pastor James Chegem from Uganda sums up the difference it makes when churchgoers become disciples:
“Rooted in Jesus has done a lot in the church I am leading; I used to struggle a lot but when I introduced RinJ it has helped me to grow the church numerically and spiritually. A woman called Lucia had never gone to school but kept on coming to attend RinJ meetings, and learnt how to memorize verses; now she is a good evangelist and quotes scriptures in the Bible which she has memorized. Many of the members who attended RinJ meetings in the church are now committed to church programmes. The church now has 300 members in attendance.”
Rooted in Jesus is a ministry to people who have few material resources, and depends wholly on donations – if you would like to help please visit our support page, or make an online donation here.
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” Col 2.7

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Posted on 28 February 2017 by Revd Dr Alison Morgan.