Church Planting Initiative has a close relationship with Partnership UK. Not only is it important to raise up leaders from within our own churches, we need to partner with other Christians to advance the gospel.
John Jenkins and Andy Dykes work with CPI and Partnership looking for ways to foster growth and church health and greater interdependence amongst neighbouring churches.
Andy is part of a church planting church, leading a small missional group from his home in Rock Ferry. He leads a CPI Hub in the Wirral and is a Partnership Regional Co-ordinator for North UK.
John is a Partnership Regional Co-ordinator in greater London and is responsible for Recruitment, Mobilisation and Hub Development for CPI. The London CPI Hub he leads draws a real mix of individuals, both from established churches and new plants. There is also a real mix of ethnicity, including Americans, Canadians, Ethiopians, Nigerians, Ghanaians, South Africans as well as English, Scots and Welsh.
The Hub asked them about the importance of discipleship.
John: Discipleship is perhaps the most misunderstood and ignored aspect of life in so many churches today. Discipleship is not an optional extra. We are all disciples and called to be disciple makers.
Growing up I never had anyone who took the time to share their life with me in a discipling relationship. Over the years I have had many informal and ad hoc “discipleship” relationships with various individuals but of late, I am trying to be much more intentional in the relationships I establish. I am currently mentoring one of our CPI church planters and, within my own congregation, I am working closely with my fellow elder and a number of individuals.
Andy: I take great heart when I read the gospel accounts of the disciples. They follow, but make mistakes along the way (the same is true of NT churches). Disciples seek to follow Christ and trust in His word and His finished work. They make mistakes along the way but grow as they become Spirit-empowered ambassadors for Jesus, walking together and encouraging each other, living and speaking for Christ.
Accountability to godly leaders in a local church will always help disciples to grow. For this reason, I prefer accountability within a local church setting, but where that is impossible I would urge anyone to find people who are willing to take on that role.
How do your roles with CPI and Partnership work together?
Andy: If the mission is about making disciples, this involves going out and making more disciples. As we grow, this will either mean mega churches or planting more churches (you can probably guess which I favour – Matthew 28.19). When we separate church growth and church planting we will not grow disciples.
John: I am trying more and more to integrate the work I do for CPI with the work I do for Partnership. I invite leaders from my Partnership network to attend CPI events, and vice versa. I also include Counties workers and GLO workers which appears to be working well.
Many of the churches I work with in Partnership are small and are facing many of the same issues, although for completely different reasons, as those churches within CPI that are just starting out. Both sets of churches are wrestling with questions of defining their vision and mission, engaging in mission with a small volunteer base, expanding on limited finance, identifying gifts and ministries, wrestling with the nightmare of legal compliance. A common thread running through my work with both groups is church revitalisation.
Thoughts for church planters
John: For too long, the church has worked with a false dichotomy between evangelism and discipleship, as if these were two distinct separate activities, which they are not. Disciple making is that process by which we help people trust and follow Jesus, a process that begins long before the person comes to faith in Christ, a process that begins the moment someone indicates that they want to discover a little more.
At the heart of every church there needs to be a clear discipleship path, well defined and well supported by all the church does. Discipleship needs to be the ‘main thing’, and everything else needs to be aligned behind the one main thing.
What is a disciple, if not someone who follows Jesus, is being transformed by Jesus, and is committed to the kingdom mission of Jesus?
A Love That Will Grow
3-6 Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
Philippians 1.5-6 The Message
For more information on Partnership visit partnershipuk.org
John Jenkins and Andy Dykes work with CPI and Partnership to advance the gospel.