Communal maturation and missional discipleship

A congregational study


  • Nick Ladd



Individualization, personal and communal maturation, spiritual practices, missional discipleship


Individualization exercises pervasive power in the modern western church, generating an isolated and privatized approach to discipleship and mis­sion that has been attended to extensively over the years in attempts to foster “whole-life” discipleship. My doctoral field work in 2015–17 was with a single Church of England congregation that had adopted an outward-looking mis­sional process which disrupted this individualization and challenged people to a personal and communal journey of change in which the public life that they began to share with people in their wider community shaped both their per­sonal and communal maturation. This journey was fuelled by shared commu­nal practices which in turn generated new forms of communal life to express the congregation’s developing public Christian identity. This research demon­strates both the challenges and the potential of forming communal identity in an individualized culture. Moreover, when mission is undertaken with open­ness to the other, a profound interdependence between communal maturation and missional discipleship is revealed.

Author Biography

Nick Ladd

Nick Ladd has been an Anglican minister for 40 years, during which time he has served in six parishes of very different social make-up. For eight years he was Director of Ministry, Formation and Practical Theology at St John’s College, Nottingham. At present, he works freelance, supporting churches in their missional development with the Church Mission Society, teaching, researching, and offering spiritual accompaniment to clergy. In 2021, he received his doctorate from Birmingham University for his thesis, Exploring Communal Maturity: A Theological and Ethnographic Study of a Christian Congregation. He has published several pieces around the practice of ministry and mission.




How to Cite

Ladd, Nick. 2022. “Communal Maturation and Missional Discipleship: A Congregational Study”. Ecclesial Futures 3 (1):59-77.