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Being a Disciple

Canon David Watson, who was Vicar of St Michael-le-Belfry in York, said twenty-four years ago: "Christians in the West, have largely neglected what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. The vast majority of Western Christians are church-members, pew-fillers, hymn-singers, sermon-tasters, Bible-readers, even born-again believers or Spirit-filled Charismatics – and we have got some those here this morning - but aren't true disciples of Jesus Christ.  If we were willing to learn the meaning of real discipleship and actually to become disciples, the Church in the West would be transformed, and the resultant impact on society would be staggering."

This is no idle claim. It happened in the first century when a tiny handful of timid disciples began, in the power of the Holy Spirit, the greatest spiritual revolution the world has ever known. Even the mighty Roman Empire yielded, within three centuries, to the power of the Good News of God in Christ.

"Corporate-discipleship: fraternal-belonging was Jesus' big idea, and plan for the renewal of society; a catalyst and engine for building God's Kingdom."

 

Jesus calls both men and women to be disciples: to learn from him, to pattern their lives upon his life, to follow him.

All are called: the poor, the rich, the sinners, the sick, the disgraced and forgotten, the lost and weary, the unclean and the oppressed, women and men, the young and the old.

You see, the call to corporate discipleship is a call to God's promised glory. For Christ did for us that which we couldn't do for ourselves.

God's acceptance of us just as we are, enables us to overcome our alienation and to experience the joy and the fulfilment of personal communion with God.

To be a disciple is to be called to a life of learning and formation in the likeness of Christ and to follow God’s call.  As a 10-year-old it was Christians like that who created in me a thirst for Christ, the living water. 'I stooped down and drank, new life flooded my whole being'.

 Victor Hugo said that,

"There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world: and that is, an idea whose time has come".

Corporate-discipleship: fraternal-belonging was Jesus' big idea, and plan for the renewal of society; a catalyst and engine for building God's Kingdom. His idea, which has lasted over the centuries, was simply this: a mixed community of sinners called to be saints, a divine society where the risen Christ in the midst of it is grace and truth, and the Holy Spirit is at work within it.

An inclusive and generous friendship, where each person is affirmed as of infinite worth, dignity and influence. A community of love, overflowing in gratitude and wholehearted surrender, because it participates in the life of God.

This corporate-discipleship, we call the Church, worships God and infects the world with righteousness.

So the call for all of us, is to live and be good news to everyone. It would be fantastic if people not only said of Jesus Christ, "What sort of man is this?" but said of us, his followers, "What sort of people are they? Their gracious actions, and the language on their lips is of God's goodness and love. Let us get to know them. There is something extraordinarily normal and wonderful about them."