Workshop on Discipleship in Woking


Simone Yallop (Reader in training) shares this report on the Workshop:

In the weekend of 26 to 28 April a group of 11 Readers and 4 Readers-in-Training came together at St, Columba’s House in Woking, for a workshop on Discipleship. The facilitators were Dr Clare Amos (Director of Lay Discipleship), The Revd Canon Elaine Labourel (Director of Readers) and the Revd Deacon Frances Hiller (Bishop David’s Chaplain).

Clare Amos took us on an enthralling Biblical journey, looking at what the gospels tell us about Peter’s experiences as a disciple of Jesus. Discipleship is about following, learning and serving. It is a journey sometimes with two steps forward and one step backwards. We will not get it right the first time. Neither did Peter. It was interesting how Clare pointed out that in John’s gospel, Jesus does not say ‘follow me’ to Peter until (21:19) after he has both denied and affirmed Jesus three times. We were introduced to discipleship being a journey into the heart of God’s love, with its goal to grow evermore Christlike in every aspect of our lives, upwards towards God, inward to self, outward to the world and sideways to other Christians.

Discipleship is not only about following it is also about making new disciples. It is what Jesus tells us to do in Matthew 28:19-20. Jesus tells us to go and make disciples teaching them to obey everything he has commanded us. That includes loving God with all our hearts and loving our neighbours as ourselves. We are not alone because Jesus is with us to the end of the age.

‘Did not our hearts burn within us?’ said the disciples when they realized Jesus had been with them on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:32). Clare used this example as she explained her ideas for a rule of life to help us on our journey in knowing God, growing in Christ, building community and living beyond ourselves.

As Readers we have a role in teaching to help build the Body of Christ. Deacon Frances spoke about tools that could help us. We looked together at the Pilgrim course and tried out one of the lessons.

Canon Elaine gave us two very useful sessions about the role of the teacher and various learning styles. Elaine did this in a novel way by illustrating the roles of the teacher using the characters from the science fiction series ‘Star Trek’, with Captain Kirk as the leader keeping the group together, Mr. Spock promoting logical learning, Scotty applying a wide range of skills, Dr. MacCoy maintaining a healthy environment, Uhura providing good communication and all of them on the bridge making it all happen. Elaine also showed us how to recognise different learning styles including imaginative, analytical, common sense and dynamic learners. Within these groups there are also those who prefer to learn by hearing, seeing or doing. Taking this into account will make our teaching more effective. In the final session Elaine showed us how to recognize the different stages of faith that people can be in when we meet them.

It was a fascinating workshop with a lot of very good material. At the end of the weekend we all wondered where the time had gone since it went so quickly. We shared some wonderful worship services together. In between the sessions and on the Saturday evening there was time to renew friendships and to make new ones. It was an excellent workshop.  Here is some of the feedback received:

"Thank you for another encouraging, informative and useful workshop" (Jackie Dallos - Reader)
" We learnt how to walk closer to Christ and help others on their journey"  (Sharon Grant - Reader)
"Well organized, relaxed and a good spiritual time together" (Vicky Pacey - Reader)
" A good balance of teaching and teaching styles enabling an understanding of discipleship"  (Michael Torne - Reader)

Thank you to all who worked to make it such a success.