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The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity

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Use this plan to focus your leaders’ meetings on whole-life discipleship 

What does it look like to run a leaders meeting in a whole-life disciplemaking church?  

Every church has different ways of running decision-making meetings, whether the body that takes those decisions is called the leadership, eldership, PCC, or something else. But however it looks for you, the idea of covering the full scope of church life, both gathered and scattered, can seem daunting. Even if we’re convinced it’s important to prioritise equipping people for discipleship in daily life, it’s hard to make space for that in a limited agenda when the windows are cracked and the bank account’s got moths in it. 

So, to help you keep that tricky balance between the important and the urgent, here’s a simple structure you can use for your meetings that’ll keep whole-life discipleship in the conversations. Use the whole thing or pick and choose pieces of it. 

1) Welcoming prayers  

Open your meeting with these words:  

Father, as we come to you from our days, we recognise the many places you have been with us today. We thank you for the people who have crossed our paths. We pray that tonight/today as we seek to lead your people that you would keep us mindful of who they are and the call you have on their lives. Amen. 

Or lead people through a simple Examen prayer:  

Pause to become aware of the presence of God.  

Where did I see God today? 

What am I thankful for today? 

What did I feel today? 

What should I pray for? 

How do I feel about tomorrow? 

2) Bible reading  

Either a suitable reading for the meeting or a psalm can be said together. Here are some suggestions for helping to make the connections with people’s everyday lives  

Share a short devotion  

You could base this on one of LICC’s devotional journeys on the YouVersion app, or our regular Word for the Week blog.  

Use ‘Lectio Divina’ to dwell in the word 

Read a short passage, pause to let people see where their attention is drawn, read it again, then share in twos or as a group what people noticed about the passage. You can brief attendees to think particularly about how the passage related to their everyday lives, or open with a short reflection on the passage, thinking about it from the point of view of our scattered lives.  

Let’s use Romans 12:1–2 as a worked example. This reading starts with a ‘therefore’, and points back to the previous 11 chapters, where Paul has explained the gospel in all its wonder. As a consequence, therefore, we’re to live differently because of it.  

  • What might it mean for the people in our congregation to offer their bodies as a living sacrifice at work or home?  
  • What challenges are there to conform? What would transformed minds do differently?  
  • What might they need from this church to help them live transformed not conformed lives?  
  • What might there be on the meeting agenda that would help people in the church better live for Jesus and understand his will for them – at work, during their hobbies, or with their family or friends? 

After the reading and brief reflection, close with this prayer from CPAS: 

God of mission, we are your church, Christ’s body on earth, your holy people for your needy world. In our thinking, give us wisdom; in our planning, give us faith to move mountains; in our action, give us the power of your Spirit, that all we do and think and say may be for your glory and for the growth of the kingdom of your Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen. 

3) Agenda items  

When planning the agenda, ask yourself:  

  • How many (if any) of these items of business relate to our scattered lives?  
  • Which of these can help people grow as disciples on their frontlines?  

Often whole-life discipleship doesn’t shout for our attention, so we need to make sure we work to include it actively on the agenda. If there’s nothing on the agenda relating to whole-life discipleship and you’re drawing a blank, ask people in the meeting what you could add for next time.    

4) Review the meeting
A helpful practice at the end of a meeting is to review the meeting you’ve just had. Just going round the group and getting immediate feedback, asking everyone how they felt the meeting went, what could have gone better, what could be celebrated, can help future meetings run well. You could also quickly touch on whether there was anything from the Bible reading earlier that shaped the discussion that followed. 

Adding an additional question like, ‘Did we keep focused on discipling people for their everyday?’ can also help keep it part of the conversation in the future.  

5) Closing prayer  

Close by committing the meeting and its decisions to God. Use the Lord’s Prayer as a way to ask God to work through the conversation you’ve had and the decisions you’ve taken to build his kingdom. 

Jo Trickey
Church Advocate

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