Over a decade ago now, the Methodist Church gave itself a tag line as “a discipleship movement, shaped for mission”. Part of our own distinctive way of being the Church is that we intentionally want to keep a focus on being disciples of Jesus. Martyn Atkins, writing back in 2010 put it this way,
“Methodist Christian discipleship is rooted in and focussed on Jesus Christ, resourced by the Spirit of God, is both life-long and whole-life, communal rather than solitary, committed to transforming and serving ‘the world’, locally, nationally and globally and so is lived out on a ‘big map’, all offered as worship to God as loving obedience.”
Discipleship is a process. We are ever being made as disciples. It never ends. We are constantly under construction. We should all be assigned a hard hat and a yellow hi-viz jacket that says on the front “Disciple of Christ, under construction” and on the back something like, “Attention: God at work”.
As we set off into a new church year, hopefully emerging more and more from the coronavirus pandemic which has affected us all, in so many ways, let us always keep this vision before us as we live out our discipleship in a variety of way here on the Sheffield District.
As Methodist disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, we are Disciples Under Construction by the grace of God. Where the Holy Spirit is at work, pouring out lavish grace upon us there is a real danger that things will change, and transformation will take place.
Disciples Under Construction commit themselves to a Methodist Way of Life. Because they are part of a movement of people who are Disciples Under Construction, they give themselves to share in the mission of God as a priority in their lives.
Therefore, Disciples Under Construction engage in Evangelism and look for the Growth of the Church. They engage in a whole range of Social Justice matters. For example, Disciples Under Construction battle climate change. Disciples Under Construction take safeguarding of all persons seriously.
Disciples Under Construction express the presence, care, and love of God in all manner of ways. At the start of a new Church year, you are invited to commit yourself to this life. Attention! God is at work!
By Reverend Sean Adair
(Deputy Chair of the Sheffield District and Superintendent of the Derbyshire North East Circuit)