Mark Stirling is the leader of the European Disciple-Making Leaders Network. He is a former medical doctor who pioneered work amongst university students with the Navigators in Edinburgh from 1998 to 2004. In 2007 he completed an MA in Exegetical Theology at Covenant Seminary in St Louis and in 2011 gained a PhD in Biblical Studies from St Andrews University, his thesis examining issues of discipleship and maturity in Ephesians. He, his wife Jenny, and their four children now live in St Andrews, Scotland. Mark currently pastors a new church (Cornerstone St Andrews) and is the director of The Chalmers Institute, a learning community that exists to resource and equip men and women to exercise faithful biblical leadership in the church and in society.
Hans Bayer (PhD Aberdeen University, Scotland) is Professor of New Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, USA. Born and raised in Germany, he started at Covenant Seminary in 1994 after teaching for ten years at the German Theological Seminary (FTH) at Giessen, where he also planted and co-pastored a church. He has published English and German monographs and articles, primarily on the Gospels and the book of Acts. He contributed to the ESV Study Bible, the ESV Transformation Bible, as well as video-taped lectures on Acts for Third Millennium Ministries. He has published A Theology of Mark: The Dynamic Between Christology and Authentic Discipleship as well as a German commentary on the Gospel of Mark. He is currently working on Apostolic Bedrock: Christology, Identity, and Character Formation According to Peter’s Canonical Testimony, as well as an English Commentary on Mark.
Ole-Magnus Olafsrud serves with the Navigators in Norway, the Baltics, and through various European networks. He became a Christian when he studied veterinary medicine. He has since been involved in developing the Navigators in Norway and beyond. He served for 20 years as director of the Navigators in Norway. He spends half of his time as an along-sider (mentor), seeking to encourage and equip younger leaders in generational disciple-making. He has had more than 20,000 couples in seminars on family life in different countries and is an experienced family counsellor. Ole-Magnus also serves on the European Lausanne Resource Group to stimulate application of the Cape Town 2010 Commitment. After serving as the senior coordinator for the Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering in Jakarta, August 2016, he now serves on the core team for YLGeneration – a ten-year initiative to develop younger leaders in the global church. He has written four books, two of which are on family dynamics, and one on along-sidering in generational disciple-making. His closest friend and partner through 44 years is his wife, Kari, and they enjoy their three married sons and eleven grandchildren.
Jim Crooks is a pastor of an independent church in Perth, Scotland. After graduating in business studies in 1981, Jim went on to work in financial and administr ative roles before entering further and higher education as an Assistant Principal. He became Principal of a college in Northern Ireland in 2004 and successfully led three colleges to a merger in 2007. He became Principal of a similar college in Scotland and led four colleges to merger in 2012. For three years after his retirement from secular employment in 2012, Jim was a lecturer and co-ordinator of part-time provision at Tilsley College, a small theological college in Scotland. In addition to his pastoral ministry, Jim also teaches and preaches in Scotland and elsewhere in Europe. He works with the Church Strengthening Initiative, supporting churches and their leadership teams to make change, and is a trustee for Echoes of Service, a mission support agency supporting around 226 mission workers across the globe. Jim is a widower and a grandfather.
Dave Redfern is a recent resident of St Andrews having spent the last 3 years studying for a MA in Theological Studies at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada. Whilst there Dave developed a passion for the rich history of God's church and hopes to pursue a PhD in church history or historical theology in the future. Previous to this Dave and his wife Michelle were involved in student discipleship ministry in Edinburgh between 2007 to 2012. Dave also spent 3 years working as a youth and children's worker at St Stephen's Comely Bank Church. Dave and Michelle have recently celebrated the birth of their first child, Lucy.
Introduction and Overview of Network
This introductory session will introduce the aims and methods of this Network. This includes forming small groups in which participants will be challenged to delve more deeply into the content and apply it to their own discipleship growth and ministry contexts, as well as set individual and group learning goals for the week. Participants will work in the same small group for the duration of the Forum and be facilitated by experienced small group leaders.
The focus of this session will be upon the nature of biblical maturity, how people grow to maturity, and how leaders facilitate and nurture others, becoming disciple-making leaders from the book of Ephesians. The second half of the session will be devoted to group work engaging with the question of what key biblical convictions need to be built into people’s lives in order for them to grow to fruit-bearing maturity.
What is Discipleship? What is Disciple-Making?
This session will overview some of the biblical material on disciple-making, focusing particularly on Jesus’ call to follow in Luke 9:22-3. In this session, the inseparability of discipleship and mission will be emphasised and we will pay close attention to Jesus’ training of the disciples’ heart attitudes. Participants will meet in small groups to set learning goals and discuss the personal and contextual applications of the teaching.
Along-Sider: Coming Along Side People As Co-Labourers (Mentoring)
Lonely leaders, activity-driven leaders, capsized leaders, unsatisfied hearts. Biblically healthy leaders are needed now more than ever. How do we come alongside others to encourage, develop, and equip generationally? Jesus fostered disciples and leaders, and his balance between the one-on-one and the many inspires us to understand more of his pedagogics and strategy rooted in the dignity and value of every individual. In this session, we will share and learn together.
Developing Leaders Where They Are
So, where do we start, and finish, when developing leaders? The speaker will explain how we start where the person is and look to finishing with that same person mature in Christ and leading others in their growth processes. There can be many problems in beginning, continuing, and finishing leadership growth, and this session will provide deep insight, practical methodology, and development materials dealing with problems and hindrances to growth from an experienced practitioner.
Peter's 'Downward Mobility' as a Path to Healthy Humility
False notions of humility in the Greco-Roman and in the contemporary, Western world tend to shape our view of humility. Self-abasing misconceptions of humility are, likewise, misleading. As a follower of Christ, Peter endures a progressive, 'downward mobility', in the course of which he discovers a robust, healthy, and God-centered humility (1 Peter 5:5b-7).
Discipleship by Grace
As disciple-making leaders, we can turn gospel ministry into what we can only manage and measure instead of focusing on God’s sovereignty, faithfulness, and goodness and pointing continually to those. We should be grasped by and share each of those elements through His grace. In trying to help others towards maturity in Christ, how do we avoid the twin dangers of legalism on the one hand and antinomianism on the other? In other words, what does it look like to live by grace and make disciples by grace?
Power, Authority, and Leadership
The approach to disciple-making outlined in this Network is highly relational and thus very powerful. However, as with anything that has potential to do great good, it also has potential to do great harm. Sadly, nowhere is this truer than in Christian leadership.
This session will explore the nature of the power we exercise in relationships and how we can develop a properly biblical perspective on how we exercise authority. Having laid a biblical foundation, the small groups will then discuss a series of illustrative case histories to help us think very practically about some of the potential pitfalls of leadership.
So What? Or, Where Do We Go From Here?
Discussion facilitated by Mark Stirling
In this final session, each small group will work for 45 minutes at clarifying the take-home messages of this Network and generating specific personal applications, revisiting the list of biblical convictions they generated on day one of the Network. There will then be a final, 30-minute plenary session when groups will provide feedback on what they have learned during the Network and in what ways their learning will inform their ministries when they return home. There will be a particular focus in the final session on the question of leaders’ responsibilities to train and equip (“multiply”) other leaders.