Read the Forward by Bishop James Newcome
Read the Introduction
Read What is a disciple?
(from Chapter 2)
Real life stories
Questions for discussion
Published April 2015
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The Mathetes Trust
The God Who is There
a course in practical
from The Mathetes Trust
1. Beyond Ourselves
2. The New Community
3. Shining Like Stars
by Alison Morgan
“If you are looking for something to excite people about Christian discipleship, this is it."
Bishop James Newcome
"There seems to be a growing consensus around ‘Discipleship’ as the greatest challenge facing Christians in the West - and, as usual, Alison Morgan has not only identified the key issue but also provided a lucid and practical insight into what it means. I love her writing. Somehow she manages to combine substantial scholarship with highly personal reflection and down to earth illustration, so this book – like her previous work – is easy to read as well as intellectually and spiritually stimulating. Alison has discovered from her own wide-ranging experience that discipleship is something we learn and develop together. A significant part of her own journey has been promoting the tremendously successful ‘Rooted in Jesus’ course in Africa. The challenge African culture poses to complacent, bored, individualistic Christians in the West comes across forcefully in the specific examples she provides of discipleship being worked out in countries such as Kenya and Tanzania. Part of this has to do with ‘signs and wonders’ and the importance of seeing as well as hearing. But much of it is about people learning with and from each other. Growth in discipleship involves commitment to other disciples as well as to Jesus. So she defines discipleship as 'a form of apprenticeship undertaken in community'.
I like the way in which Alison roots her theological reflection firmly in Scripture. She draws out particular emphases in the four gospels and shows how – in the Bible as well as in experience – ‘making disciples involves a lot more than just leading people to faith.’ This book is about living and sharing Christianity; not just being taught it. It is about becoming a practitioner rather than an observer, which means both being accountable to other Christians and engaging deeply with the Bible."
From the Foreword by James Newcome, Bishop of Carlisle.
What are people saying about this book?
"Here is an ever-expanding vision of what it means to be disciples of Jesus. It is simply written but exciting and profoundly challenging – calling us to a deeper experience of God’s life and a more engaged participation in God’s mission. Full of real life stories, it beckons us to abandon ourselves to God’s great story and thereby discover life in abundance." Martin Breytenbach, Bishop of the Diocese of St Mark the Evangelist, South Africa, and Chair of Growing the Church.
"Alison Morgan writes with a rare blend of wisdom and inspiration. This beautiful book is peppered with story, challenge and hope. I cannot recommend Alison's work highly enough." Mark Russell, Chief Executive, Church Army
"Discipleship is an absolutely central part of our theology and of our Christian practice. And Alison Morgan is one of our finest Christian writers. I commend this book to anyone who wants to grow in Christ and to see their community grow too, spiritually, numerically and as Christ's mature followers." Paul Bayes, Bishop of Liverpool
"Alison Morgan is a star! Combining her deep faith and practical experience as a Christian teacher and evangelist, she challenges us to think afresh about what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and for churches to be communities where people help one another to develop their relationship with Him. A wise and prophetic book which challenges us to consider the question 'How do I make my faith in Christ real today?'" The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu
"Alison Morgan has written a fine book on the Church's greatest challenge of our time - discipleship. Live this book and discover how God can change your life, your church and your community." Bishop Graham Cray, former leader of Fresh Expressions
"Alison clearly identifies the central calling of every Christian - to be a disciple of Christ - and explores what that means for us in the realities of modern life. She inspires with great testimonies, instructs with clear teaching, shapes with a coherent framework of discipleship, encourages with gritty realism, and through broad experience beautifully portrayed, she invites us afresh into the grace and freedom of lives fully given to Christ." Revd Mark Tanner, Warden, Cranmer Hall, Durham University
"God has already used Alison Morgan’s inspired writing to touch very many lives. This wonderful new book addresses the question of discipleship, a crucial one for today’s church. She insightfully and engagingly elucidates what it means to be a disciple of Jesus and rightly insists that only as disciples together, as church, shall we be a truly effective part of God’s great mission to transform not just individuals but the whole creation in Christ." John Inge, Bishop of Worcester
"Alison Morgan has done a great service by bringing together many strands of the emerging chorus that being a disciple of Jesus is what being a Christian is all about. Yet she frees the word from limiting links to informational and individualistic meanings. She tracks how this change is occurring, and puts the case for disciple meaning ‘apprentices of Jesus, in community.’ She beautifully balances the passionate individual following of Jesus in order to become more like him, with the well-argued emphasis and practical application that the plural of disciple is Church. The title should surprise some but become normal thinking. To ground both emphases there are stories of changed lives and tasks for groups to engage with. It should become standard reading, thinking and living." George Lings, Church Army Research Unit
Recent years have seen a growing consensus that making disciples of Christ who live out their faith in daily life should be a priority for every church. Alison Morgan writes with passion about the urgent need to rediscover a practical and transformational discipleship, taking us back to the New Testament to study how Jesus coached his followers and how the early churches provided ‘apprenticeship in community.’ Alison draws on her own experience as director of the Rooted in Jesus discipleship programme in Africa and illustrates her argument with encouraging stories and examples from a wide variety of contexts. For ministers, leaders and others involved in planning church courses and programmes, this is a timely, challenging and practical exploration of how to make disciples today." Ven Paul Moore, author of Making Disciples in Messy Church
"When Jesus calls you to 'follow', he also call you to 'go'. The disciple who learns from Jesus is also the apostle sent out by Jesus. The church is the company of men and women who follow and go, learning from him and being sent out by him. This timely book will help it all make sense." Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Chelmsford
"Following Jesus is a timely resource for the whole church: rich in stories, resourcing deep reflection, full of practical wisdom." Steven Croft, Bishop of Sheffield
"Drawing on her deep love and knowledge of the scriptures, Alison Morgan explores the exciting business of being a disciple of Jesus Christ and living as part of his church - illustrated with some excellent true life stories. I hope many people will read this book and benefit from its wisdom." Alan Smith, Bishop of St Alban’s
"A fresh and refreshing account of what discipleship looks like, with many helpful nuggets of teaching, reflection and living testimony." Phil Potter, Archbishops’ Missioner and Team Leader of Fresh Expressions
"Alison Morgan combines a fine intellect with a profound spirituality, and practical grasp of the Christian life. She offers a rich vision of a life in God, seen as a joyful dance, the true answer to the spiritual homelessness of the modern world." Peter Forster, Bishop of Chester
"More and more I hear it said that creating disciples is the greatest challenge facing the church today. The Plural of Disciple is Church is timely, filling the great need for an accessible, inspiring, easily understood and practical book on this vital subject. Alison Morgan addresses the issues surrounding discipleship chapter by chapter, including some very useful group studies. I was particularly challenged by the chapter which carries the book's title, as it helped me see more clearly that discipleship is not about what the church DOES, it's about what the church IS - a community of disciples. Highly recommended." Charles Whitehead, International Catholic author and speaker and Chairman of the Ecumenical International Consultation on World Evangelisation
"Brilliantly written on a key issue. Creative, fresh, and inspiring from one of our leading practitioners." Canon Roger Simpson, Archbishop’s Evangelist to the North
Alison Morgan is a well-known author and speaker, and the founder and editor of Rooted in Jesus, a practical discipleship programme for Africa, first developed in 2002 for Tanzania and now in use in 16 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Alison has a PhD from Cambridge University and prior to her ordination into the Church of England in 1996 worked as a university lecturer; she is the author of an internationally recognised work on the poet Dante. Alison worked for many years alongside her husband Roger in parish ministry, first in Corby and then at Holy Trinity Leicester, where she oversaw the church's ministry of prayer for healing. From 2004-2016 she worked as thinker and writer for ReSource, which seeks to encourage the renewal of the Church for mission; she now works with The Mathetes Trust, a registered charity formed in 2016 to support and encourage Christian discipleship.
Alison is the author of many publications, but she is best known for The Wild Gospel (Monarch 2004, now on its third printing), The Word on the Wind (Monarch 2009), and Following Jesus: The Plural of Disciple is Church (ReSource 2015). Alison is co-author (with John Woolmer) of the healing course In His Name and (with Bill Goodman) the Lent course Season of Renewal. She was a contributor to Mission-Shaped Questions (CUP 2008). Her most recent publication is an anthology of poems for reflection and meditation, Something Understood (The Mathetes Trust 2017). Alison is a member of the Archbishops' College of Evangelists.
To find out more visit Alison's website.