Mission Team Life Transformative discipleship and leadership development in context
AuthorsSilk, Ian G.
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AbstractMission team life - the lived experience of missioning together that is given shape and meaning through relationships, practices, processes and values - is a social reality and modus operandi whose transformational potential has been largely unrecognised. The way discipleship is currently being reimagined for churches is impoverished by this lack of recognition. This study investigates the shape of mission team life in lived experience and its impact on those who participate in it. Using qualitative research methods including semi-structured interviewing, thematic analysis, theological reflection and poetic reframing I draw on the life-stories of thirteen mission leaders in a variety of local contexts to explore both the constituent elements and the overall character of mission team life. As a reflective practitioner and facilitator of mission teams I bring my own experience to the interpretation of their narratives. I demonstrate that mission team life comprises six interweaving relational dynamics: synergia (co-working), koinonia (the sharing of lives), diakonia (serving), pneumatika (spiritual practices), mathemata (lessons learned) and euremata (attending to surprise discoveries). The character of the whole is relational, complex, chaordic, adventuresome and Spirit-filled. Such life together is a way of discipleship in which vocations are mutually discerned and leadership emerges in context. An understanding of the dynamics and character of mission team life can equip the Church’s theological imagination in vital areas. This research addresses debilitating dichotomies highlighted or implied in recent official reports through a robust conceptualisation of discipleship and an account of practice based in lived experience. Reflective practitioners whose values in ministry are formed through mission team living demonstrate an understanding of collaboration, compassion, hospitality, spirituality, co-empowerment and prophetic imagination. When these qualities also become the hallmark of the mission teams they lead the result can be a way of discipleship that is both imaginative and transformative. My conceptualisation of the relational dynamics of mission team life is thus a fresh paradigm, offering to churches, missions and the academy a way of seeing, understanding and living a transformative discipleship rich in spirituality, synergy, community, ministries and leadership potential.
CitationSilk, I. G. (2021). Mission team life transformative discipleship and leadership development in context [Unpublished doctoral thesis]. University of Chester.
PublisherUniversity of Chester
TypeThesis or dissertation
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