Walking the Way: One year on

Francis and RichardA year since the launch of the United Reformed Church’s (URC) focus on lifelong missional discipleship, Walking the Way: Living the life of Jesus today, Richard Church and Francis Brienen share their thoughts on the first 12 months.

The experience of leaving port on a large ship can be easy to miss because, although you may feel the vibrations of the engines, it is not until you look out that you see that you have left the harbour and are making way.

It is in this spirit that we look back on the first year of Walking the Way: Living the life of Jesus today.

With synods adopting strategies for holding discipleship at the heart of their life and work, many local congregations are embedding new patterns of behaviour, inspired by Holy Habits, and experimenting with residential Christian communities.

The Walking the Way leaflets, resources and tremendously successful prayer cords, along with the website, resource map and social media, have all served to encouraged people to consider what it means to respond to God’s presence and call to lifelong mission.

In April, all serving ministers were invited to a unique and inspirational gathering to hear a range of speakersaddress issues of discipleship.

In September, we welcomed Stepwise, the URC’s new discipleship development programme, designed to meet the needs f those who yearn to learn more about Christ, deepen their faith, serve their community and develop their leadership skills.

We look forward to seeing Stepwise grow throughout the URC as more individuals and groups get involved.

Looking forward to 2019, two synods will experiment with accompaniment by working with the London Institute of Contemporary Christianity (LICC), which will suggest ways in which local churches can build an emphasis on whole-of-life discipleship to help make an impact on the communities in which our congregations are set.

So, we have definitely set sail together. We know that, together with all Christians, we are living through a time of transition. It is a time when we are being faced by two big questions: in the face of the need to a be a missionary people, how can we be a transforming presence in the lives of those we interact with every day; and what will the future Church and its leadership look like?

We look forward to continuing Walking the Way with joy.     


Francis Brienen and the Revd Richard Church are the URC Deputy General Secretaries for Mission and Discipleship respectively.