A Guide to Mission Accompaniment

Kerry Thorpe

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This book doesn't just contain a whole lot of words; it is full of heart, mind, breath, eyes, ears and hands. And not just of the wonderful Kerry Thorpe, but the heart, mind, eyes, ears and hands of Christ at work within and through his church, turning us inside out for the sake of the world he loves. Enjoyably engaging, deeply practical and personally challenging.
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

Content

Accompaniment.

It is friendship, but it's more than that!
It is mentoring, with a crucial aim.

In this unique book on the subject, Kerry Thorpe argues that Christian accompaniment is a continuing relationship that helps those involved to function better in the things they do. He encourages church leaders and others engaged in mission to develop relationships that inspire, motivate and focus on the church's task of mission. Here is a book that will transform the life of the church.

Contents

  • Introduction: discovering relational accompaniment
  • Relational God
  • Relational human beings
  • Relational Church
  • Jesus and relational discipling
  • Relational coaching
  • Relational accompaniment: developing individuals
  • Relational accompaniment: the honing of an idea
  • Relational accompaniment: changing a culture
  • Relational accompaniment: learning from the critics
  • Relational accompaniment: applying the principles
  • Towards the end goal of relational accompaniment

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Endorsements

This book doesn't just contain a whole lot of words; it is full of heart, mind, breath, eyes, ears and hands. And not just of the wonderful Kerry Thorpe, but the heart, mind, eyes, ears and hands of Christ at work within and through his church, turning us inside out for the sake of the world he loves. Enjoyably engaging, deeply practical and personally challenging.
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury

This is a superb guide - easy to read, vivid, biblically well-grounded, widely informed and immensely practical.
Revd Dr Michael Moynagh, Wycliffe Hall, Oxford

Cracking stuff - grounded, practical, inspirational and passionate. It's made me want to go out and find an accompanier for myself!
Canon Lucy Moore, Messy Church Team Leader BRF

Kerry Thorpe, as the leading person in this area, has something vital to share with the church about mission accompaniment. His experience personally and as a church and diocesan leader means that he has lived this book for the last 40 years.
Revd Canon Dave Male, National Advisor for Pioneer Development

Kerry Thorpe writes about what he has spent a lifetime doing. He has read widely and reflects honestly on success and failure. In an over-optimistic, self-promoting, goal-driven managerial culture that has entered parts of the church, I'm delighted Kerry writes out of seeing life and coaching in relational terms. So, he knows and describes coaching techniques, but holds them lightly. The book combines an easy style and deep insights.
Canon Dr George Lings, formerly Director of the Church Army's Research Unit, Sheffield

Author info

Kerry Thorpe has been in ordained ministry for 38 years, planting churches and helping to shape the Fresh Expressions movement. He has held Diocesan roles in Canterbury with particular responsibility for developing new forms of church and helping the more traditional to rediscover vision, values and missional strategy. He is currently a freelance Coach, Consultant and Mission Accompanier.

Reviews

The Reader, Winter 2018. Review by Rona Orme

This practical book equips us to undertake some of our core tasks as Readers - to encourage discipleship and to grow the next generation of leaders. Thorpe demonstrates that 'transforming friendship' is integral to God's nature and illustrates this view with examples from Genesis through to Revelation. He argues that the flourishing of individual lives can be measured by the quality of their friendships. After careful analysis of Jesus' relational discipling of his twelve closest followers, Thorpe explores how this knowledge could inform our own ministry. We are introduced to the benefits, and limitations, of neuro-linguistic programming; the importance of affirmation and encouragement alongside challenge; and the value of relational accompaniment in the context of mission. We are called to be challenger, cheerleader, confidant and coach to those we accompany. We should view relational accompaniment as a life skill rather than a technique.

Review by Rona Orme

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'Lead On' September 2018, CPAS. Review by John Coyne

This book reflects on 40 years of ministry engaged in parishes, Fresh Expressions and church planting where the benefits of ministry and mission being accompanied by an experienced practitioner are explained and developed.

Kerry Thorpe describes Mission Accompaniment as 'engagement with individuals and teams, for the greater flourishing of their lives and work. It will include elements of coaching, mentoring and simple friendship'. The book offers a relational rather than a technical approach. The definition is broad and can be deployed in much wider contexts than a church, benefice or deanery. The skill set can be deployed in work and community contexts.

Twelve short chapters ending with focused questions for reflection take the reader on a journey to apply the skills of accompanying a church as it seeks to clarify and live out its primary mission. Chapter one gives a helpful overview of each chapter. The book is embedded in practical theology, and there are chapters on God as a relational being, humanity as a relational species and church as an essentially relational community. These are followed by chapters on Jesus and relational discipling, leading on to chapters which reflect on different approaches to accompaniment.

Kerry draws on the experience of Bob and Mary Hopkins (Anglican Church Planting initiatives), George Lings (The Sheffield Centre), Phil Potter and others to help individuals, teams, churches, deaneries and dioceses to negotiate the changing landscapes of local mission.

Kerry's own experience is illustrated and critiqued through his work of accompanying others in the Diocese of Canterbury and beyond. This in turn helps leaders to recognise their challenges, sharpen their questions and hone their response to what may be achievable in ordinary churches, fresh expressions and church plants as well as in exceptional contexts.

For those weary of technical and programmatic approaches to mission in the 21st Century, this book offers a relational approach which is thorough, achievable and hopeful, with assistance from people trained to walk alongside.

Review by John Coyne

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Review by Steve Coneys

A Guide to Mission Accompaniment is that rare thing: concise and well written, full of practicality and the author's personal experience, yet theologically rooted and satisfying.

For Kerry Thorpe, mission accompaniment is an expression of the life of the triune God who invites us to deep friendship with God's self and each other.

Accompaniment is defined as 'consistent engagement, with individuals and teams, for the greater flourishing of their lives and work'. Such engagement includes elements of coaching, mentoring and 'simple friendship', the principle elements of which are memorably expressed as the five points of a God-centred star (p. 127).

Kerry's lived passion for this kind of focused-friendship-in-mission shines through his exploration of Scripture, discipleship, coaching, and other helpful insights drawn from psychology. For me, these come together in a moment of personal disclosure: 'To walk with an individual through developing beliefs, clarifying identity and the emergence of life-changing patterns is to experience the highest privilege that life affords' (p. 90).

The book is structured in order to encourage personal reflection throughout. In my case this created a problem: I read it in one go, being unable to put it down. My bet is that you might need the slower second read too. That way you will experience for yourself a little of the accompaniment this book so elegantly commends.

Steve Coneys, Mission and Growth Advisor, Diocese of Canterbury

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Book details

  • ISBN: 9780857465955
  • Published: 16 February 2018
  • Status:
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 144
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