What was the last thing that you learnt and how did you learn it? And, perhaps more importantly, how did it impact your life? Learning isn’t something that stops when we leave school or college…learning happens throughout our lives, through all of life’s events and encounters. And the best learning helps to deepen, broaden and enrich the way that we see and understand the world and our place in it and ultimately impacts our actions, thoughts and feelings. Learning to be followers of Christ is also something that continues throughout our lives and the learning journey that we embark upon is one that we should expect to be life changing.
The word for disciple in Greek is mathetes, which, translated literally, means ‘one who learns as he follows.’ Discipleship is an active, lived- out, relational process that necessarily changes us and in so doing, inspires us to engage in God’s mission to change the world so that it reflects and responds to God’s loving, life- giving presence.
So how do we learn and grow as Disciples of Christ? In the ancient world, a disciple was someone who lived their lives in their teacher’s shadow; they would even sleep outside their doors in case they missed a pearl of wisdom that might fall from their lips. It was an intense, expectant, engaged relational way of learning. And we see this modelled in the way that Jesus discipled his followers. They were encouraged to share in his life and ministry and mission in community with one another. Learning happened alongside every day life, with every day encounters and events providing the opportunities to discover more of God and God’s presence and purposes for their lives and the lives’ of those they met. It was reflective active learning.
This September, CCL are offering two learning opportunities that have at their heart an aspiration to generate transformational learning. ‘Mission Shaped Ministry’ facilitates the development of a learning community in which participants share and reflect together on how we can shape and hone all that we do, and all that we are, as faith communities, around the centrifugal force of God’s mission.
‘Called to Serve,’ starts from the understanding that we are all called to serve the God who is for all. As part of a learning community, participants are encouraged to share and learn and reflect upon their understandings and experiences of God and God’s purposes for the world and the church. Participants are support in discerning and exploring God’s call on their lives.
People who have taken part in ‘Mission Shaped Ministry’ and ‘Called to Serve’ repeatedly affirm the central importance of the learning communities created through engaging in these learning opportunities, especially their role in supporting transformational learning. As Michael Spencer says, ‘The command to follow requires that we take a daily journey in the company of other students. It demands that we be lifelong learners and that we commit to constant growth in spiritual maturity. Discipleship is a call to me, but it is a journey of “we.”’ ( Michael Spencer, 2010, ‘Mere Churchianity: Finding your Way back to Jesus Shaped Spirituality.)
If you would like any further details about either of the above learning opportunities, please do get in touch with Nicki Pennington at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Learning Development Team Leader