Jesus’ work, Jesus’ way
A day conference with Dr Mark Stirling

On January the 21st the Discipling God’s People network held a day conference at Hope Church Merthyr, called “Jesus’ work, Jesus’ way”. Around 40 or so of us gathered from multiple churches and denominations across South Wales, and were challenged and encouraged by the teaching of Mark Stirling around the theme of what leadership in the body of Christ is for and what should it look like, starting from the core idea, “You can’t do Jesus’ work in non-Jesus ways”.

It was a great day for building relationships across different expressions of the church, but it was a very significant time in terms of wrestling with some very difficult and current issues.

Each session had lots of space and time for interaction and questions, all of which served to put the teaching into gritty real life contexts, and leading to very practical applications. The sessions are available to watch at the links below, with a summary of the content of each session. We would encourage you to listen to them in order, as each one builds on the previous session.

Session 1: Jesus work – What is Jesus’ work and what does “success” look like?

  • What is the purpose of leadership in the body of Christ? In this session, we will explore a biblical framework for church leadership and then consider some of the consequences for leaders and their churches when we define “success” wrongly.

Session 2: Jesus’ way – Power and leadership

  • Jesus’ way is demonstrated as an example to be imitated in John 13 and Philippians 2.
  • Power is for serving others! What does this look like for contemporary church leadership?

Session 3: Jesus’ way – leading God’s people in the life of grace

  • What does it look like to lead God’s people to a life of flourishing in gracious union with Christ?
  • What sorts of convictions must leaders have if they are not to fall – and lead others – into either legalism or license?
  • How will the world see God’s grace in action among His people?

The Discipleship network session at EQUIP 2023:
"The Jesus way"

Fundamentally, abuse of power is a theological issue. What we really believe about God, ourselves and the world shapes how we live. If leaders have a wrong or malformed understanding of who God is and what he is like, if their doctrine of humanity is wrong, if they have failed to grasp the real sinfulness of sin and the nature of grace, this will show itself in their leadership. As Mark says, this results in trying to do the work of Jesus in un-Jesus like ways (which we cannot and must not do!), and they will be misrepresenting God in their ministry – which is what it means to carry the Lord’s name in vain. So the purpose of these sessions will be to identify the theological issues underpinning abuse of power in leadership, and to move towards a theology which is evidenced by humble and loving leaders.

EQUIP 2023 Network Speaker

Mark Stirling

Dr Mark Stirling

Mark Stirling 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.

Network Facilitator

Paul Edwards

Paul Edwards

Paul Edwards is married to Lisa and has three children. Originally a Tredegar boy, he studied and lived in Cardiff, where he first got involved with the Navigators, and was a Chemistry teacher for 14 years. After moving back to the valleys, Paul and Lisa became part of Hope Church Merthyr. They have led small community groups since 2010, helping others in growing to maturity as disciples of Jesus. Paul has been part of the leadership of Hope for the last 9 years, pastoring since 2013, and also teaches science two days a week.