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Making Disciples in Every Generation

Speech by Evonne Paddison

Given at the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion (EFAC)

National Conference - 2008


The EFAC Conference was held from September 10- 13 at Ridley Melbourne, saw more than
200 people from around Australia come together to look at, "Discipleship the Heart of

Speakers included: Bishop Graham Cray from the UK, Archbishop Peter Jensen, Kanishka
Raffel and Rev Dr Evonne Paddison.

The original audio for this transcript can be downloaded here:

Total Time: 53:46


Well it's great to be here with you and thank you for the invitation.

Just let me tell you what I'm doing, we’ll have a look at the topic is growing
disciples for every generation. That's a big topic so let me tell you what I'm
going to do with it. We’re going to have a biblical look at discipleship, what
are the marks of discipleship? And then I'm going to focus on discipleship to
young people, and I can see so many of them here and that's great.

The year was 155 A.D. and the place was Smyrna, Roman province of Asia.
There was a new wave of persecution that was sweeping against the Christian
church and the proconsul of Smyrna was especially vigorous in that pursuit and
prosecution of the followers of Jesus and of course he focused on the Bishop
Smyrna. A man named Polycarp who was almost 100 years old. An old disciple.
When the Christians of Smyrna found out that an arrest warrant had been
issued for Polycarp they whisked him away hid him in a barn to protect him,
but the police found him and he was caught he was brought into the city he
was taken to the center of an arena where there were thousands of people
crying out for his execution. As the old man stood in the middle of the arena,
I'm sure you all know the story, he's anticipating that soon he would die, the
proconsul it would seem that moment of sympathy for the old man. He raised
up his arm, he silenced the crowd and when everything was quiet he shouted
out to Polycarp, Polycarp curse the Christ and live! And with a strong voice
Polycarp answered back, 80 and six years have I served my master and king and
he has done me no wrong I dare not blaspheme him now. And with that refusal
to renounce his faith in Jesus Christ the proconsul brought down his arm and
Polycarp was executed. He became a Christian martyr.
Well, what does Polycarp mean? Come on you Greeks scholars. Much fruit! And
Polycarp was a disciple of Jesus who like his name remained abiding in the
vine. And bore much fruit for his master and his king. Oh to be a Polycarp. It
is set of Polycarp that he was disciple by none other than the apostle John.
Now whether that's accurate or not is another matter. Polycarp proved to be a
faithful disciple and because I think there is no better place to begin looking at
what the Bible has to say about discipleship than the Gospel of John. I know
that will surprise some of you. So let's first of all look at discipleship in John's
Gospel. Looking at what are the marks of discipleship. Well firstly responding
and abiding in belief. One of the key concepts in John Gospel is of course
belief. A disciple is a believer, and a follower of Jesus. Someone who responds,
believes and goes on and abides in the word of God in Jesus's words. And of
course John wrote his Gospel with this purpose as it's pointed out in John 2031.
He's written his Gospel so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ. The son
of God. And that by believing you may have life in his names.

So disciples believe who Jesus really is, they accept except his claims and John
also tells us that belief undergoes a process of gradual understanding and
perception this occurs through adherence to the words of Jesus and of coarse
relationship with him. This is how one grows as a disciple and following the
resurrection the disciples came to fully understand who is and who grasped his
full status as the son of God the Christ. Now John also contrasts defective
belief with true belief and we heard about that in the bread of life discourse
that was read to us. So in chapter 6 verses 51 to 58 Jesus made the incredible
statement of who he really is. I am the living bread that came down from
heaven if anyone eats of this bread he will live forever and the bread that I will
give for the life of the world, his alarming words, he is my flesh. And we are
told after many of his disciples heard this they turned their back and a longer
walk with him. Well that is the defective beliefs he didn't continue they didn't

But by contrast, we have Simon Peter's statement and it is the most powerful
statement about what true belief is all about. Jesus said to the 12, do you want
to go away as well? And Simon Peter answered him, Lord to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life and we have believed and have come to
know that you are the holy one of God.

What a statement. That is the statement of the true believer. Thus disciples
are ones who believe in Jesus as the word who gives eternal life. And disciples
are ones that go on and abides in Jesus words

So in John 8 31:32 we find, So Jesus said to the Jews who believed in him, if
you abide in my word you are truly my disciples and you will know the truth
and the truth will set you free. Abiding, as we know, means remaining it;
means remaining convinced of the truth of Jesus words. Living one's life in the
truth of Jesus' words. The truth and belief and reality of belief is proven
through abiding in the word of truth. That is what it means to be a disciple,
spot in belief and applied in the words of Jesus that is the first mark in John's
Gospel of discipleship.

Now the second mark of discipleship found in John is the command to love one
another. In John 13 remember the scene, it's a magnificent scene just after
Judas has left the upper room to betray Jesus, a defective disciple, Jesus says,
a new commandment I give to you that you love one another just as I have
loved you. They're familiar words aren't they? You are also to love one another.
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for
another. Disciples of Jesus love each other as Jesus has loved them and of
course this presupposes that disciples are members of a faith community.
That's part of being a disciple. And such love shows that one is in fact a disciple
of Jesus. It is a reflection of the love of Jesus and it shows the influence of
Christ in a believer's life. As CK Barreck(sp?)tt puts it , one has ceased to
belong to the old world. It was Tertulian Bishop of Carthage in the second
century living in the midst of Christian persecution who wrote, he wrote this
about Christians, that he then will want to exclaim, see how these Christians
love one another, they are ready to die for one another. That is the mark of

The third mark of discipleship in John is bearing fruit. So in John 15 verse

eight this my father is glorified that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my
disciples, that you bear much fruit. I guess as we see that verse one has
reminded again of dear old Polycarp. Mr. much fruit. One is able to bear fruit
because one is in the vine and through true attachment to the vine brings life.
And of course in the discourse we are told the vine that does not bear fruit, the
branch, I'm going to get there, the branch that does not bear fruit will be cut
off. Discipleship is a growing and developing way of life which results in fruit
bearing but what is the fruit bearing in John's Gospel? Well, it is clearly being
involved in the mission of Jesus. If you've got your Bibles there you might carry
them. In chapter 15 verse seven, Jesus says if you abide in me and my words
abide in you, ask whatever you wish and it will be done for you. And as I read
before my father is glorified by this if you bear much fruit.

Mark Twain's, Huck Finn, shows a great misunderstanding of prayer, and actually
not that he knew he was doing this but what it means to be a disciple of Jesus
for that matter. When he says in, to Mrs. Watson, he's speaking he says Mrs.
Watson told me I could get anything I wanted I praying for it, she said if I go in
my closet and pray I get it. And I needed some fishhooks one time so I went to
the closet I shut the door and I prayed, but it weren’t so. And I got to thinking
about it and I decided there was nothing to prayer.

Well, he's got it wrong hasn't he? Our father delights to see his mission to
fulfilled, and the prayer requests that will be answered are associated with
going in bearing fruit and this is implied with the ongoing work of making
disciples. So if you look at verse 16, Jesus says you didn't choose me, but I
chose you and I appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last so that
the father will give you whatever you ask him in my name. Disciples pray that
through them much fruit will be born and that is the prayer the father delights
to answer.

The fourth mark of discipleship in John is seeing and reflecting the glory of
Jesus. In John 114, an extraordinary statement is made, we all know it but it is
extraordinary, the Word became flesh, and wait for it, that's extraordinary, and
we beheld his glory. We have seen his glory. Glory, as of the only son from the
father full of Grace and truth. Disciples are those who have seen Jesus his
glory, and they are those who go on to receive and reflect his glory. What is
striking about John's presentation of Jesus is that although Jesus his glory is
revealed powerfully in his signs it was above all to be seen in his self
humiliation in the incarnation and particularly and most gloriously in his death
on the cross. The cross was a horror in the first century world, we miss this in
our world it was a place of unspeakable agony and above all of shame and a
curse. But what John shows in this magnificent gospel, the cross is in fact his
exultation. The hour of his suffering is paradoxically the hour of his greatest
glory. That glory was hidden from many but it is glory and it is glorious
nonetheless. A Christian disciple is someone who sees the glory of God person
of his son and in his saving death. We have seen his glory. This is a test of faith.

Moreover disciples are people who have learnt to recognize Christ's glory in
what he is presently doing in the world. Although his ways may seem hidden,
she is at work. So although when justice prevails your mother-in-law may seem
to be winning, spouses suffering from cancer, the kids are experimenting with
drugs, the climate is suffering, poor seem poorer, the church in the West is in
decline. The disciple believes and knows his glorious purposes Christ’s glorious
purposes are being unfolded. The Christ's purposes will not be and can never
be thwarted. The disciples sees his glory and looks ahead to the time when the
Lord's splendid glory will be revealed to all. God's purposes are on schedule and
going according to plan and moreover disciples reflect his glory. Christ's glory
was not only revealed to his disciples that received by them so that they can
reflect it in the world Jesus prays for his disciples just before the point of his
crucifixion and in chapter 17 he prayed by saying all mine are yours and yours
or mine and I am glorified in them the glory that you have given to me I have
given to them

don't you think that's also extraordinary? What a privilege we have. To be glory
reflectors of Jesus. John clearly teaches that disciples are followers of Jesus.
So my sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me. Followers of
disciples first receive and then reflect his glory so what does this following and
reflecting mean? It involves going where he went along a path of suffering
carrying a cross and in this way becoming like him and reflecting him to a lost
world. We are to be disciples and make disciples, we are not looking for a
stress free pampered existence, not seeking popularity, not seeking health and
wealth and happiness but followers of Jesus who have taken up crosses.
Reflecting his glory will inevitably mean following his path of humiliation and
loss for the sake of bearing fruit. For the sake of winning others.

Amy Carmichael expresses the relationship between suffering and discipleship

in these words, have you no scar? No hidden scar on foot, or side or hand? I
hear your son is mighty in the land. I hear you inhale your bright ascendant
star. Have you no scar? Have you no wound? Yet I was wounded by the archers,
spent, leaned on the tree to die and rents by raving beasts that compass me. I
swooned. Have you no wound? No wound? No scar? It is the master shall the
servant be and pierced are the foot that follow me, but yours are whole. Can
one have followed far who has no wound? No scar. Christ has called us to follow
him through the glory of suffering to the glory of eternity. To follow and share
that with him. Seeing and reflecting his glory is the mark of discipleship.

These then are the principles for discipleship for all generations. Whether
you're Polycarp, of his age, or whether you're a child. How do your discipleship
programs measure up? Are these the ingredients of your programs? Or even
better still, how do you and how do I measure up as disciples?

Let me now say something about making disciples of our children and young
people certain ministries in schools, which is what I'm involved in. I am
presently working with access ministries. Some of you might have known us as
the Council for Christian education in schools. I think ACCESS is a much better
name. Clearly we must promote the same marks of discipleship for young
people that the Bible, as those that the Bible presents to us. But of course, in a
way that is appropriate and contextual to them. The first step in becoming a
disciple is clearly believing, but so many of our young people have never heard
the gospel. They will not hear it unless we go and tell and make disciples of

In Australia we have a God-given open door to children and young people with
the Gospel, our federal and state governments allow us to take the Christian
faith into our schools and share it. We need to go and make disciples. There are
students who do not know God exists. You have no idea of what Christianity is
about. I think of one child who was convinced that God's name was Harold,
because she heard someone say, our father in heaven, herald, be your name.
Then another who thought Jesus was some kind of animal liberationist because
he had cured 10 leopards (laughter).

There is a world of children and students who know nothing of the love of God,
nor in many cases human love. Never before have we had such an open access,
such as open to door. Christians from other countries envy our opportunities,
they can't believe we have this situation. I believe that this is the greatest
mission field we have in Australia: our children and our students. Our greatest
field for disciple making.

What's your strategy? There is an enormous amount of Christian ministry going
on in our schools, both at state level and at national level both in government
and non government schools, but we must ask how much of that ministry is
actually resulting in Christian conversion and discipleship growing and resulting
in church growth? We have a huge challenge ahead of us we must develop the
right attitude and framework and goals and models in order to see not only
Christian ministry taking place but conversion, discipleship and commitment to
a Christian faith community. We need missional attitudes, clear theological
framework and intentional goals to impact on the lives of students and a clear
biblical view of discipleship.

let me say something about missional attitudes. Like all good missions less
examine first the context. The school and student context in which we find
ourselves. There are 3.5 million students in Australia, not a bad mission field is
it? We know that the number of children and students in church on a Sunday is
no more than 5%, not very good is it?

School ministry is happening in both state and church schools, Scripture
teaching, chaplaincy, college ministry, kids club, mustard here in Victoria,
breakfast clubs, there are school church is going on usually in church schools.
As I said I'm involved with access ministries, how many times can I plug this?
And we provide CRE teachers to chaplains in schools. We have three and a half
thousand teachers, and by the end of the year will have almost 300
chaplaincies in schools. We reached 250,000 children every week. Our goal is
to double those numbers. However despite all the ministry going on here in
Victoria and across Australia we need to recognize that what isn't happening
and what isn't happening is a connection between school and church.

let me say something about our audience this school students of today. We've
heard much about GenY, I'm about to take a month's study leave in Cambridge
to research GenZ. Poor poor me (laughter). The Victorian Department of
Education produced the following summary in relation to today's youth, they
are underage drink and experiment with drugs. They are overmedicated.
They're getting fat. They love multimedia technology. They are easily bored. In
Precipice, in an article by Jake Bouma(sp?) On ministry to postmodern youth,
he identifies four characteristics of this generation. For them truth is no
longer an objective reality but a personal preference, truth is relative to one's
own background and experience for this generation. They are tribal but moving
tribes of individuals. The tribe decides what is true. Most will make decisions
not on data and facts it on the experience of the core group, usually 3 to 8
people. Virtual reality and electronic culture can seem just as real as actual
reality. It is estimated that Australian youth spent four hours in front of the
screen per day. I think there are few adults who might do that to. And micro
narratives, replace an overarching story for them. So they have very absolutes.
Valuing a good lifestyle and fun they are motivated by their own community
and also their own self-discovery. They seek after more than community but
friendships and they want to be understood respective and included. Their
decisions are based on a friend's views and experiences and relies more on
anecdotal evidence than data and reason and they are seeking bigger meaning
in life than that of their parents. They know that their parents get the rewards
of hard work, you get houses big cars to get material wealth but they also
stated that sort of success is often brought broken marriages absentee
parenting stress and illness. They have benefited from their parents success by
being the most materially endowed and entertained generation of students
ever. Without realizing it though however, consumerism has become their God.
And so they are looking for more and so they involve themselves in meaningful
clauses such as making poverty history, environmentalism human rights and so
on. For most people church is an option these days and not a duty and for most
kids church is an irrelevant option. Only 5% on any given Sunday. How will these
students come to Christ? Comes church and become disciples of others?
Quoting Bishop Cray(sp?) Who I obviously think is a good person to quote, "what
takes place in our church services is so different from what is happening in the
real and virtual world of our students, that in order to disciple them, our own
paradigms have to change. To minister to students is a cross cultural mission,
and much of our thinking about ministry and schools has had the goal that our
students will be contacted converted and disciple in order to lift them up with
the local church and become part of the home sponsoring church. However
we've got to say that this isn't working.

Let's face it, our numbers are in decline. Unfortunately, although some have
been won to Christ, through the school ministry programs, not many have made
a quantum leap to church. Not even to our evening services with their Christian
contemporary music and laid-back style. Because you see back to his foreign,
for into these kids, it's really churchy music for young people, their style.
Clearly we need fresh thinking, there is no question that to be a Christian is to
belong to Jesus's church, membership of a faith community is vital in our model
for discipleship must include this. The opportunity to reach children and
students through schools ministry is not only exciting but incredibly logical and
compelling. Our involvement with students calls on us to have a strong
theological framework. Today's students value subjective truth and not
objective truth or absolute truths so we need to respond to this with a robust
missional and incarnational theology. Instead of inviting people to establish
church, the church must enter into the world we need to be missional instead
of attractional. We need to be like Jesus who became one of us and pitched
his tent in order to reveal grace and truth. We must enter the context of those
who do not know him.

I believe ACCESS’s involvement in schools ministry is both missional and
incarnational. As we share the love of Jesus and as we relate to kids. With our
primary children, most of whom are totally unchurched, we are telling the
story of Jesus. Week by week, and we're sharing with them the love of the
word of God and showing its relevance to them and our teachers are caring for
these kids. Our chaplains are engaging with students and their families and the
wider school community quite often at points of deep and painful need.

I think the student whose brother committed suicide, um, recently, and the
family was totally unchurched by the Chaplin of course got involved he had
been a friend of the student at school, but he got involved took the service,
cared for the family and then this other student the sister of the brother
contacted the Chaplin and told the Chaplin I was going to copy my brother but
because of you I haven't. You have given me hope and you have given me life.

O and will like to will write about authorities that they are our chaplains
reflect the love of God and his son Jesus as they enter into the student's needs
and issues, many opportunities for gospel initiatives and sharing take place in
this setting and in this way a culture that says the only truth is my own is
challenged with the person of Jesus and the words of Jesus found in Scripture.
Two sisters in their early 20s spoke of the impact of CRE on their lives. They
came from an unchurched family, but at CRE, Christian religious education,
they heard of God's existence and his love for them. They love the stories and
they pester their parents to take them to church! The parents really didn't
want to do this, but eventually they gave in. The children came to faith, and
later so did their parents. And today these children are young women and they
are actively involved in Christian ministry to students. Fortunately they made
the quantum leap into church, but not all do.

But, certainly it is often the quality of life that the Scripture teacher and the
Chaplin and a Christian teacher or the Christian worker that goes into the
school that speaks loudly the love of Christ and reinforces the words of
Scripture. Can I encourage you to encourage teachers to go back into the state
schools. We need Christian teachers in the state schools. So many have left to
be in the independent school sector. We need them in our state schools where
kids have never heard the gospel. And if you're one of them get back their
please (laughter).

In a generation of students who sees truth as options and preferences, our
engagement must show that Jesus is the best of all choices. Doing it with a life
that is authentic, his real, that mirrors the generosity of God, that his
sacrificial and self giving. In this way we will show that Christ and his church
provide a love more true than those available in popular culture. And
importantly can I urge we must move them to an acceptance of the centrality
of Scripture. Through modeling our own adherents to it. Making it central to
any gatherings we have with them and showing it as a door or two growing in a
relationship with Jesus. Do not water it down.

Thirdly, community. Today's students value community. They are tribal. Tribes
of individuals. The tribe decides what is true. Our theological framework and
practice must reflect our deep value of relationship and community because
we have a God of relationship. Our theology must reflect our triune God. God
in relationship. Father, son and Spirit who makes his home with us and through
the father and the work of the Spirit calls us to be the body of Christ on earth.
Moreover we are to reflect the relationship of the persons of the Trinity in our
relationships as Christ's new society. As we develop this perspective in our
encounter with students who will tap into their longing for belonging and
acceptance that is grown out of their experience of the world's of divorce and
division. The lunchtime meeting, the afterschool club, the weeknight gathering
some of these roles can be taken up by the Chaplain, but the state school
setting the Chaplain, at times has constraints. However the Chaplain has every
opportunity to be a facilitator for other groups to come in and have acceptance
in the school to facilitate and foster a youth church congregation. And I believe
it is in this incarnational and relational way fresh expressions of student
congregations can be developed and provide the opportunity of discipleing our

Again quoting Graham Cray(sp) that is as we enter into the world of students
the goal is not to bring them back into a church culture that isn't alien for them
but to plant the gospel and the church where they are. A church that is
relational but empower students to take responsibility for their own
community. Let me say once again we mustn't present relationship with out
affirming the word of God, as revealed in Scripture. As we promote community
it must be community that gathers around the word of God, listens to it and
applies it in order to grow the community and each individual's relationship
with Jesus. We do our young people no service if we merely present
relationship without the centrality of Scripture. Of course building communities
like this where students lead Bible study talks where they share their journeys
where there is a youth leader running it, communities that are yes, marked by
love, and certainly we need community leaders who can do all those things, of
course raises huge issues for us. How can these young people's communities be
called Anglican churches? Or Baptist, or Presbyterian? What is the place of the
sacraments? In fact, was the place of the church leader? Or heavens, the
Bishop? Sorry Bishop. (Laughter).

What is the relationship to the local church? The wider diocese? How will the
school see this and how do we do it in such a way that will not abuse our
privilege? Good questions. A couple years ago the Connex train service, which is
what it's called here in Melbourne, had a problem trains were going right by,
right past, passengers waiting at stations designated train stops. The Connex
authority released a statement to explain their actions, they said it was
impossible for them to maintain schedule if they always had to stop and pick up
passengers. (Laughter). Now, we thought Connex existed for the purpose of
providing transportation didn't we? It's important that the church recognize its
commission is to make disciples. Our young people seen as obstacles to our
age-old models of worship or are they seen as opportunities? Our young people
need Christ. And to mix metaphors, let's not hang onto our sacred cows and
miss getting our kids on board the train. (Laughter). That was pretty good.

Well, you might ask well what happens when the students leave school? Do they
remain in the student congregations? Can they fit anywhere else? Well I work in
the university church, it grew from meeting a lounge room, we moved to a
building our own chapel on college grounds, that was absolutely controversial
we have lost something it was said moving into a traditional building, even with
the same congregation. However most stated. Many students after they
graduated, most of them had come to faith in that community often in my
lounge room kept coming back to worship in that church. The church grew in 10
years we went from a handful to over 200. They got married in. Then they had
children they were baptized in and they needed a Sunday school, after 15 years
the church went through great pain. Was a university church? Working in a
church? There was division. Sounds like churches doesn't it. Issues had to be
dealt with, it was no longer largely a one generation of church it had a ball like
churches do. Most who have moved on straight after graduating found it hard
to fit into traditional church some made the leap but not all of them. When I
left, I found traditional church very difficult to fit into. Maybe I still haven't,
but anyway, the community we had created was deep and is still enduring in
that church. However, the great story is that for the majority of its members it
worked. Thousands of students and now their children have been discipled
because of it. Isn't that a magnificent story? What do we fear by starting these
congregations? Let's do it.

Fourthly, reality, virtual reality and electronic culture. Today's students have
lived all their lives and electronic culture reality is not easy to define. Virtual
reality can seem just as real as actual life. What is happening on big Brother,
oh that's off now isn't it? Australian Idol becomes reality. Increasing the number
of information sources also makes it difficult to distinguish what is true and
what isn't? Moreover students today have a preference for image based forms
of communication. Research tells us that the amount of time spent in virtual
reality significantly alters our perception. Now I strongly believe that in our
engagement with students we need to provide authentic community as opposed
to virtual. We are just trying to imitate pop culture, and we don't do it very
well anyway but we are trying to speak into it. Notwithstanding, of course we
need also to learn how to use images and activities to be heard. Bear in mind
the use of images changes the way we perceive things. This is not only a
challenge for the church, but for all who wish to engage with students. Yes,
images important, we need to learn how to use it but without diminishing the
role of the Gospel and of Scripture. But enhancing it. Quite often our best
resources for helping us with this is the students themselves who know actually
how to do it. But let me say, we are mistaken if we think the way to discipled
our young people is virtual or electronic. They need authentic relationships.
They need leaders who personally impact on them. They need to be challenged
individually and corporately with the word of God and they need to respond to
it. They desperately need a relationship with the Lord Jesus, and to be in a
faith community.

Meta-narratives. GenY by and large reject meta-narratives. However our
theological framework must continue to promote the meta-narratives of God's
transforming love and reject the rejection of the meta-narratives. The Gospel
remains unchanged unchanged for this generation. We need to continue to
teach that God so loved the world that he gave his son. However we must also
teach that life begins when we believe. We must be expressing the Gospel in its
fullness not only emphasizing salvation afterlife through God's grace in Christ
but also that eternal life has begun and that each one of us has a place in God's
overarching story. Get them in the story of salvation. We are in the middle of
God's actions. And the effects are now. So when reaching students we must not
water down the Gospel for image or for entertainment or because it challenges
the subjective paradigm of truth and rejects the meaningful plan of God's
salvation. Rather we must work at ways to present this message authentically
and contextually. There is great power in letting students tell their stories as
part of a grander plan of God. There is also great effect of using the strong
narrative of Scripture there is a real role for first-person narrative I believe.
First person narrative stories that are faithful to Scripture. Haden Robinson
(sp?) Is a great artist of this, used his books. Our own spontaneity and faith
stance to interact is powerful. There is the greatest of power in letting the
Scriptures speak for themselves. Getting them were reading the Bible and
enacting it, sharing it, studying it. It is the word of God which speaks.
And then we need a model of discipleship. We must give our children and young
people a model of discipleship that promotes belief in responds to the word of
God. And trains them to abide in it. It teaches and models for them the love of
God and how to be in a community of faith to love one another and love God's
word. We need a model that is marked by fruit bearing and involves our young
people in evangelicalism and disciple making. We need a model that points to
the glory of Christ in his incarnation his work on the cross is resurrection is
exultation and sees his disciples continuing that work and reflecting in in his
world. We are constantly tempted to water this down in order to attract young
people through our activities, our music, our fun, or whatever it is. Resist the
temptation to replace substance with superficiality. Our gospel is not in need of
massaging for acceptability. It alone will transform lives and bring salvation.

My view is that we have every opportunity to create new congregations through
our schools ministries, as we do this we have the responsibility to fulfill the
great commission of making disciples. We need to see our Scripture teachers,
our chaplains, especially as facilitators of this as established Anglican churches
we need to be missional. As leaders in the church we are called to be leaders
and enablers of god’s mission for his world.

Schools are our great mission field for students. It is imperative that we are
willing to engage with schools embrace, support and own the work that is
taking place in them. It is not about getting somebody to fill that spot and
sending them off to the Scripture each week. As local church communities I
would encourage you to have Scripture teachers in schools and be one yourself.
Particularly clergy. Model it. This in of itself becomes a chaplaincy role. When
week by week you befriend the kids, their teachers and get known. And from
your churches don't just send Scripture teachers into schools, but develop with
your team a strategy. A strategy that could see the growth of a fresh expression
of a church that is part of your own church, but a congregation in its own right.
Our task is to have a biblical model of discipleship that is presented in a
contextually appropriate manner through this.

We need to develop student congregations. Good ministries are going on in
schools, but we are not reaching all our kids. Scripture is an extraordinary
opportunity to reach kids, with the good news about Jesus. As I said we are
reaching 250,000 kids each week in Victoria. Under God, many come to faith.
Some find their way to church. Our chaplains in state schools provide an
extraordinary model of Christian ministry they engage day by day in schools.
They engage day by day with students, that the church has absolutely no
contact with. Our great need is to see students nurtured in faith congregations
where they find belonging and meaning in their faith is deepened. So they too
become disciples.

Our challenge. Can we meet it? Bill is wild haired. His wardrobe for uni is
jeans and a T-shirt, with holes in it of course. He recently became a believer
while attending a Uni Bible study. Near the University is a conservative church,
one Sunday bill decided to go there. He walked in late and shoeless, the church
was packed. Bill headed down the aisle looking for a seat. Having nearly
reached the pulpit he realized there were no empty seats. So he squatted down
on the carpet just like he did in a lecture theater. The congregation was feeling
very uncomfortable. Then, from the back of the church of gray-haired older
man in a three-piece suit started walking toward bill with a cane. The
congregation drew their breath. And with all eyes focus on this developing
drama, the minister waited to begin his sermon until the old man did what he
had to do. The elderly man dropped his cane onto the floor and with great
difficulty lower himself down to sit next to Bill. What I am about to preach, the
minister began, you will never remember. What you've just seen, you will never

This is far from establishing a student congregation, but it does illustrate some
of the tensions faced by the church when it seeks to engage in change and
openness and incarnational ministry. Establishing a separate student church
faces us with a real challenge of how we do church and what are the
appropriate elements and structures. However, the tension between mission
and church can be fathomed as we seek not so much to change structures but
the imagination we need to use those structures and when we develop a
discipleship model based on the biblical markers of discipleship. So, don't just
pray for the work of chaplains and school ministry workers don't even just
support them in your local churches. Don't just give money to them, but
develop an intentional ministry for them within your church so that they can
help make and develop a new congregation and make disciples.

I'm actually convinced that a great model for discipleship and for chaplaincy
would be to have a chaplain curate in a local church as a part-time chaplain in
a local school with the view of starting a new congregation in a fresh
expression. We need to enhance this ministry with establishing congregations
and to establish a student congregation that is part of the wider church could
prove life-giving, to both the sending church and the new congregation. What
really matters. What really matters is seizing the God-given opportunity we
have to reach kids in schools. Without Jesus, our students are lost.

3.5 million. Our churches in the West are on a slow death march. We have the
opportunity to create life. It may be uncomfortable but so what? What a
commandment, make disciples. What a responsibility. What a privilege we have
been given. Let's go for it.