Director of Discipleship

This job has now expired
Diocesan Offices, Clayton House, Walker Office Park, Blackburn

This is a new full-time post, responsible with the Archdeacon of Blackburn for leading one of the key strands of the diocesan Vision 2026, Making Disciples for Jesus Christ.

The postholder will be responsible for developing and implementing a diocesan strategy to equip parishes in forming intentional disciples who will live out their Baptismal vocation in the whole of life. The post is open to lay and ordained candidates. The post will report to the Archdeacon of Blackburn, the Ven. Mark Ireland, as lead for Making Disciples.

  • Making Disciples of Jesus Christ is a key theme of Vision 2026
  • Knowing the Scriptures better through reading, teaching, preaching and study
  • Praying with greater depth and urgency for the Kingdom of God to come
  • Giving generously of our time, talents, and money to the cause of Christ
  • We have challenge as a diocese in developing whole-life discipleship that needs to be addressed for the sustainability of the diocese. The parish share review group is clear that the lack of generous giving in the diocese is not a financial issue, it is the symptom of a deeper discipleship issue. Making Disciples has been the least resourced area of Vision 2026 in terms of diocesan staff.
  • We lack the strategic capacity to deliver our vision for discipleship, including the national church’s initiatives Setting God’s People Free and Thy Kingdom Come, and our own diocesan initiatives to promote prayer and Bible reading, Pathways to Prayer and Bishop Julian’s Bible Challenge. As the director of Renewal and Reform has written about Setting God’s People Free, ‘Much experience of diocesan strategy suggests that, left to an enthusiastic but unsupported senior staff member, progress is likely to be slow and patchy. There will need to be capacity to drive the change.’
  • This proposal is part of a wider review of work within our departments which has enabled us to do some creative thinking around the following aims:
    • to align the departments more closely with the four strands of Vision 2026 (making disciples, being witnesses, growing leaders, and children/youth/schools)
    • to give bishops and archdeacons a clearer leadership role in implementing the Vision by combining their responsibilities to lead on different strands with oversight of the relevant departmental staff

Making Disciples = Archdeacon Mark Ireland

Being Witnesses = Bishop Jill Duff

Growing Leaders = Bishop Philip North

Education/ Children/ Schools = Archdeacon Michael Everitt

Finance/ Enablers = Diocesan Secretary, Canon Graeme Pollard

Background Reading

Potential applicants will find the following links helpful:

Setting God’s People Free:

Key Job Activities:

To seize the opportunity provided by a diocesan Year of Discipleship in 2019 by planning, co-ordinating and delivering five strands of work and ensuring that these five initiatives are embedded in the life of the diocese for the years to come:

  • Bishop Julian’s Bible Challenge
  • Pathways to Prayer
  • Setting God’s People Free
  • Thy Kingdom Come
  • Generosity, Gift and Grace
  • Working with and supporting the staff of Whalley Abbey to develop a programme of retreats, quiet days and discipleship training
  • Coordinating the Bible and Prayer vision initiative group, planning its bi-monthly meetings and equipping and supporting its members in contributing to the above streams of work, and finding other ways to deepen discipleship across the diocese.
  • In promoting Setting God’s People Free to encourage every aspect of church life to be examined through the lens of one question, ‘How does what we do as a church, ordained and lay together, enable God’s people to grow in their capacity to live out the Good News of Jesus in all of life – in service in the church and in the world?’ This will involve resourcing the five diocesan members of the Setting God’s People Free learning community in sharing their learning with the whole diocese.
  • Working with the Board of Education and the Bible and Prayer Vision Initiative Group to promote regular Bible reading and study among children and adults, including promoting the Bishop’s Bible Challenge.
  • Enabling the lay co-ordinators of Pathways to Prayer, as they recruit and train a network of workshop leaders able to lead workshops on prayer across the diocese, drawing on the full range of traditions of Christian spirituality.
  • Working with the Archdeacon of Blackburn, Bishop’s Leadership Team and the Stewardship Resources Officer to provide training mornings for clergy in how to teach about giving, as part of the Year of Discipleship.
  • Working with the staff at Whalley Abbey to develop a strong programme of retreats, quiet days and discipleship training.
  • Exploring the development of a Rule of Life and of dispersed communities of prayer as possible responses to follow up the diocesan Year of Discipleship.
  • Supporting and managing the warden of spiritual directors in the diocese, and to promote the ministry of spiritual direction and accompaniment.
  • Offering training and resourcing to parishes, deaneries and ecumenical groups in making disciples.
  • Providing training for clergy and readers and other lay leaders in making disciples, including contributing as requested to IME2 and reader training.
  • Being up to speed with the latest courses and resources available to parishes in the area of making disciples and deepening discipleship, offering specialist advice to help parishes locate the best resources for their particular context and use them wisely.
  • Supporting and encouraging the use of Mission Action Planning as a tool to encourage the development of vision and the establishing of clearly identified priorities.
  • Collaborating with the Youth and Children’s Advisers to develop effective approaches to discipling children and young people in the Christian faith
  • Promoting pilgrimage and retreat and encouraging parishes to participate in national celebrations and festivals which help to fulfil the diocesan vision of ‘Making Disciples for Jesus Christ’.
  • Overseeing and managing relevant budgets.
  • To oversee the transition of the diocesan retreat house Whalley Abbey to become a new centre for Christian discipleship
  • Line managing the Stewardship Resources Officer and any other staff and volunteers.
  • Attending all relevant training and diocesan meetings or other meetings as appropriate.
  • Undertaking other tasks and specific projects as may reasonably be required.

Qualifications & Training


  • Diploma level or equivalent in theological or Biblical studies
  • Theological understanding of the issues involved in forming Christian disciples
  • Positive understanding of the role and ministry of lay people in their Monday-Saturday lives as well as in church


  • A relevant degree
  • Clear grasp of the complementary roles of ordained and lay ministers in the Anglican Church
  • Experience of living as a disciple of Jesus in a secular job or context



  • A track record of fostering discipleship at one-to-one and local church level
  • Leading, managing and motivating a team including budget planning and the deployment of resources


  • Experience of developing strategy more widely, e.g. diocesan level

Knowledge & Skills


  • Ability to lead strategic development and implementation
  • Ability to work collaboratively and handle potential conflict
  • A clear, creative and strategic thinker with an ability for theological reflection
  • Ability to form effective working relationships with a diverse range of people and organisations
  • Organised and administratively able with good and effective working knowledge of IT and social media platforms


  • Demonstrable understanding of the issues involved in ministerial education, training and formation
  • Excellence and proven creativity in IT and use of social media
  • Understanding of the culture of the Church of England and how to lead change within a diocese
  • A committed and communicant member of a Christian church recognised by Churches Together in England
  • A disciplined life of prayer strong enough to sustain a busy and demanding role
  • Ability to work independently in handling a diverse workload and in keeping to deadlines
  • Committed to his/her own professional development


  • Active participation in the life of an Anglican parish
  • Personal and spiritual maturity
  • Infectious enthusiasm
  • Evidence of recent writing, blogging, vlogging or other theological reflection



  • Familiarity with and ability to work across all the different traditions of the Church of England
  • A clean driving licence


  • Evidence of relevant reading from a variety of theological streams

For an informal discussion about this post please contact the Archdeacon of Blackburn, Mark Ireland 07866 778791 or email

Closing date; Sunday 21 October

Interviews Wednesday 7 November

Start date: Early 2019