The overarching theme for the next year’s Anglican Consultative Council (ACC-16) meeting in Zambia, “Intentional Discipleship in a World of Differences”, has been chosen by the Standing Committee of the Anglican Communion as a response to daily Christian challenges.
Director for Mission at the Anglican Communion Office (ACO), Canon John Kafwanka, welcomed the theme as “the best news for the Communion at this point in time.”
Mr Kafwanka explained that “It has become evident in many parts of the Communion that the challenge we face today in Christian discipleship is the divide between ‘professed faith’ and ‘lived faith’. This is mainly because we have not taken seriously the need to intentionally equip ourselves and our members in considering the implications of faith in Christ in every sphere of our life. The theme for next ACC meeting calls us back to that.”
In the past two years, the Anglican Witness group of Anglican leaders and mission practitioners has been advancing the centrality in the life and mission of the Church of equipping all God’s people for intentional discipleship, so that Anglicans and Episcopalians everywhere become intentional in considering how their faith bears on their everyday life experience.
Focus on intentional discipleship has come as a response to Christian challenges such as failure to connect faith and professional life, low commitment and impact on community life, lack of confidence to share personal faith and pass it to next generation, and decline in Church membership in some cases.
A video, “Being a Christian in everyday life” has been recently published to illustrate some of the current issues both in the Global South and North, and why intentional discipleship is critical.
The chair of the Anglican Witness core group, the Archbishop-elect of South East Asia, the Rt Revd Ng Moon Hing, said: “In this season of turbulence, intentional discipleship is the way of going forward. . . I hope and pray that ACC will promote a season of intentional discipleship in the Anglican Communion.”
Anglican Witness is gathering a variety of resources to help churches equip their members to be Christ’s credible witnesses in every sphere of their life. It aims to promote good practice from dioceses and parishes where an emphasis on discipleship is already being implemented.