At EQUIP 2020, this network will set out a biblical vision for discipleship and mission. A relationship with Jesus and transformation of character cannot be reduced to formula or programme. The network will explore the implications of this for church life and suggest practical ways we can grow as disciples and help others grow also.

The stream’s three sessions at EQUIP 2020 will be:

  • A Biblical vision for discipleship.
    Is discipleship about technique or programme, something we do to people? What is it about? In this session we will look at a breadth of biblical material that will show us discipleship as God’s way of carrying out His mission to bless the nations. Discipleship describes a transforming relationship with Jesus in which we become members of the people of God – a people who inherit the promises of God to be blessed and become a blessing to the nations. For the people of God to be what God made them to be requires every member to find their place and make their contribution. Discipleship is the process whereby people grow to maturity, making their full, unique contribution to the working of God’s people. Leadership in the body of Christ is therefore about helping every member to grow towards making their mature contribution to the whole.
    This session will conclude with practical reflections on the implications of this biblical/theological view of discipleship for the way we view the church and its leadership.
  • Disciplemaking and leadership.
    The Bible has a lot to say about those called to lead in the body of Christ. Unlike a great deal of contemporary thinking about leadership, relatively little is said about how to lead. Rather, the focus is upon the purpose and character of the leader. This session builds on session 1 and the biblical purpose of leadership to help disciples grow to maturity. We will survey a range of biblical material that sets out what sorts of people leaders are to be and what sorts of lives they are to lead. We will conclude this session with the hard work of translating this biblical material practically into our contemporary situations. What should biblical leadership look like now? How can church leaders be focused on discipleship when there is so much else to do? How can we define “success” in Christian leadership? What are some of the pitfalls to beware of as we seek to be faithful, godly leaders?
  • Practicalities of discipleship.
    In the context of living his life as an example to others, Paul says to Timothy, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” Discipleship is both life and doctrine. It’s not just sharing life, and it’s not just teaching truth. It’s life and doctrine. It’s how the truth of the good news works out in the most ordinary and mundane aspects of our lives, and how that is seen by others and lived out in community.
    So how do we do this? How do we share life and doctrine? What does making disciples actually look like? During this session, we will look very practically at how these kinds of “content-full relationships” are best cultivated, relationships where we are able to invite one another into the realness of our lives and train one another in the Word.

EQUIP 2020 Network Speaker

Mark Stirling

Dr Mark Stirling

Mark Stirling is the leader of the European Leadership Forum’s Disciple-Making Leaders Network. He is a former medical doctor who pioneered work amongst university students with the Navigators in Edinburgh from 1998 to 2004. In 2007 he completed an MA in Exegetical Theology at Covenant Seminary in St Louis and in 2011 gained a PhD in Biblical Studies from St Andrews University, his thesis examining issues of discipleship and maturity in Ephesians.