Meet the couple leading Elim's Mission and Discipleship Academy
Jesus commands us to make disciples, but how do we achieve that? Director of Training Dave Newton talks with Darren and Jackie Johnson, who lead King's Church, Warrington
Tell us a bit about yourselves and your church story?
We met on a mission team when we were 17 and 18 years old and have had a desire, since then, to see the church impact the world with the good news of Jesus. We have been married for 28 years and have two grown up children.
Together with a few friends, we started King’s Church in our living room back in 2002. We believe that Jesus invites and challenges us to follow Him as His people, so that must impact the whole of life. As a result, as a church, we have been on the adventure of being disciples who make disciples.
We aim to follow the Words, Works and Ways of Jesus, so we read and apply 'His Words', aiming to do what He says. ‘His Works’ refer to how He relates to His Father, His disciples and those who are not His followers yet.
What are the things that He does in those contexts and what should we do, as His followers, as a result? ‘His Ways’ refer to exploring how Jesus went about making disciples and, therefore, how we could do that as His followers. We have a lot to learn but we are thankful for the journey so far.
What is the Mission & Discipleship Academy all about?
The Mission and Discipleship Academy is a learning community. This is a place where a group of churches go on a journey of learning together. We seek to learn how to be more effective in doing what Jesus asked us to do: “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:18.
Jesus commissions each one of His followers to be disciples who make disciple-makers. We are to baptise people in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. His identity informs and shapes our identity.
The three titles within the Godhead are significant: ‘Father’ speaks of family, ‘Son’ - Jesus said that the Son of Man came to serve, so we get to be servants too. ‘Holy Spirit’ is sent - He is a missionary Spirit and so we too are missionaries.
Clearly there is much more that could be said about this, however, a simple application is this: because we are making disciples, shaped by who God is, we get to be a family of servant missionaries.
As a learning community, we will use different tools to help us to discover how to make disciples like this. We have four gatherings, over a two year period, each lasting for two days. These incorporate main stage teaching and input with tactical training, time to work with your team and an opportunity to meet with people who are practitioners. There are also fortnightly coaching huddles, via Skype, for the senior leader of each church.
How have missional communities impacted your local church?
The goal of this learning community is not to get everyone to plant missional communities. Rather, it is to help us all to be intentional as we live as disciples of Jesus, who help others to be ‘disciple-making’ disciples too. We have found, in our context, that missional communities help us to do this. They are a useful vehicle but they are not the aim - making disciples is.
We have found that they help us to live as a family where people feel loved and cared for. They help us to be servant people who do not just attend church meetings but live as the church when we are gathered and when we are scattered.
Missional communities also help us to have a specific missional focus; a people group who we are seeking to reach with the good news. We are still on the journey of learning how to do these things better, but that’s fine because another word for ‘disciple’ is ‘learner’.
What would you expect of somebody signing up to this programme?
We would hope that those on the mission and discipleship learning community would be willing to be impacted in three simple areas – ‘Head’, ‘Heart’ and ‘Hands’.
HEAD - that we would be willing to learn and grapple with what it means to live as a ‘family on mission’.
HEART - that we would be willing to discover who our heart breaks for and to help others in our churches to discover who their hearts break for too.
HANDS - that we would not just get lots of information and notes, but that we would take simple and measurable steps in doing the things that we are learning together.
Academy programme dates
13 – 14 October 2017
2 – 3 March 2018
12 - 13 October 2018
1 - 2 March 2019
To book or find out more information contact Rebekah Marshall on email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question: Which Elim Training academy would you be interested in joining? What other academies could we consider adding in the coming years? Leave a comment below.