Our Diocesan strategy Changed Lives → Changing Lives focusses us on the life-changing love of Christ which we have experienced, and points us outward to consider how we can make that love real for others.
The genesis of these conversations is the national Reform and Renewal initiative Setting God’s People Free and the need for our congregations to develop Everyday Faith. If we are to engage more fully with our world, addressing urgently the need for discipleship and leadership in the everyday is essential.
We are seeking more than ever to encourage and initiate support for churches and worshipping communities to move outside our church walls; and to express God’s love more intentionally in our work places, school playgrounds and shops, with our neighbours, friends and colleagues.
Running through all of these conversations is a golden thread; if we want to share something of our experience of how Jesus has changed us, we need to be able to honestly speak of our experience of God and faith. But many of us, both ordained and lay, do not always feel confident about ‘God-talk’ outside church on Sunday. We feel we don’t know enough, or that our experience isn’t ‘holy’ enough, or that we wouldn’t be taken seriously. As a result, we don’t talk about God, or about how faith in Jesus Christ has changed us.
Changing the Conversation
If you're looking to change the culture of your church, we think that changing the conversation is a brilliant place to start. Read the Revd Hugh Nelson's experience of these risky conversations here.
You may find these resources helpful as you consider how best to use the CLC questions with your church or group:
- A facilitators guide in how to use the questions effectively
- A useful CLC card to use when occasions arise and to be a good reminder in daily life.
These are produced by the national church inspired by the way these questions have impacted our diocese. Here are some examples.
The following two questions are probably best used with a pre-existing group or where a good level of trust is present. They work really well at the beginning of a meeting for a ‘warm up,’ and as a lead in to prayer. Adapt the question according to what makes sense for your group and setting. Here are some examples.
- How is knowing Christ/God changing your life now?
In pairs, take 4-5 minutes to share a recent personal experience or perspective on this question.
- How can we best encourage one another to be everyday disciples?
In the same pairs, take 4-5 minutes to identify what encouragement looks like.
Feel free to use the questions in whatever way suits you.
Learning from the Questions
Learning how more confident faith develops in our communities is key to the Changing lives conversations. What helps and hinders this growth?
Review questions are provided for each group to learn what affects the way confidence is grown or diminished. Individuals and groups might identify further learning or actions that can help consolidate and embed new discipleship practices within the life of their community.
We don’t know what actual effect these questions will have within any community but we hope and pray they might lead to refreshed understanding of God and one another so we might more fruitfully bear witness to his love.
Pilot groups are exploring the effect of these questions and responding to questionnaires that will help us to understand what effect the conversations have on churches attitudes, beliefs, values or behaviours, how might they have shifted over the course of using these questions. How do these conversations stimulate churches to be more responsive to the call of Christ in this present time?
Resources for taking the questions further
If you find people want to know more or encouragement to explore what faith can mean in everyday discipleship, this is just a small sample of the resources that you might find helpful: .
- Apprentice – a daily discipleship resource for individuals and groups helping them to explore the life of Jesus more fully, designed by the Church Mission Society (CMS).
- Discipleship Explored - a course described as providing a ‘discipleship kit'.
- Emmaus – the Way of Faith disciple kit
- Freedom in Christ – thirteen week discipleship course for every Christian
- Life on the Frontline – Whoever we are, as Christians, we each have a ‘frontline’. Six week course for small groups
- Holy Habits - a course from the Bible Reading Fellowship.
- Deepening Discipleship – an eight week course helping groups of disciples to deepen their understanding and following through on what it means to be a disciples every day of the week
- Intentional Discipleship – a six session group over 3-4 months exploring more fully how God guides us, shapes us and equips us for more resilient discipleship