And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Matthew 28:18-20, New Revised Standard Version
The Great Commission charges the Church to make disciples, teaching new believers everything that Jesus taught. We are passionate about spiritual formation, spiritual disciplines, study, theology, and preaching—all geared toward a specific telos [literally “completion”]. Disciples, or apprentices of Christ, live with the end in mind—the goal, purpose, and intent to which we are called as believers in Jesus. They seek to answer the question, “To what end are we to live?” In C4SO, we want to reflect the pattern established by Jesus during his life and ministry: a journey inward and a journey outward. The journey inward, or discipleship, involves spiritual practices such as rest, solitude, relationships and petition. The journey outward focuses on caring for others, which includes an emphasis on service, promoting justice, peacemaking, and evangelism.
Discipleship doesn’t happen accidentally but rather is a life-long journey requiring great intentionality. Remember, Jesus’ call was to make disciples, which involves a process of instruction in the faith as well as helping others grow deeper in knowledge and an understanding of how to live that faith and put it into action. Discipleship results in transformation. As Christ followers, we turn away from our former way of life and turn toward life in Christ.
The Anglican Church in North America has deep concerns that the mandate to make disciples has been neglected in mainline denominations over the last several decades. We share the Province’s commitment to restore a progressive journey for all ages that imparts basic doctrine and discipline of the faith within our Anglican tradition. This shared goal seeks to ensure that “right belief, right worship and right living” emerge. The Province has compiled a Catechism, the early church’s pattern of instruction, to prepare candidates for baptism and membership in the Church. C4SO is reviewing ways to implement this extensive resource in the lives of our faith communities.