I’ve been preparing some talks for a short course called Growing Spiritually. It’s designed to be quite intentional in giving Christians the habits and tools they need for a life-time of Christian maturity.
Let me expand that.
We are going to look at reading the Bible, praying, giving and fellowship – four essential areas for any Christian. But we’re not just going to talk about them and say how important they are.
We’re also going to give people massive amounts of practical help every step of the way: a simple way to read the Bible, how to read the NT in a month, how to read the whole bible in a year. Six different kinds of prayer lists, how the Lord’s Prayer gives us a good structure for our praying, how to spend 15 minutes with God, how to memorise a bible verse, how to take part in a group bible study. And loads more.
We’ll have tools for them to look at and buy, too: Study Bibles, Bible reading notes, the works.
Very little of this is original, but I am increasingly convinced that a lot of people need some very low-level, practical help. And my duty, as Spurgeon put it, is to feed the Lord’s sheep, not the Lord’s giraffes.
It’s one of a short, designed sequence of such sessions: church membership, and finding a place to serve being the other two that already exist, evangelism training and very basic ministry training being the other two that will come on stream (the last will open the door to a whole range of other courses, given time and God allowing us).
Because sometimes people need to be told exactly how to do something, as if they’ve never had the privileges you’ve had. Because they probably never have.
Have you ever run anything that basic and practical? How did it go, and what would help me do it better? Pile in!
9 comments on “The Basics: what Christians need to know, to grow”
Spot on Chris in terms of your intention and focus. I too am convinced that this practical resourcing of people in their discipleship is just what they need. I have been involved in a school of prayer before, and key to its fruitfulness was to actually get people trying various prayer activities as part of the session, as well as resourcing them for ways they could prayer outside the session. I think this approach may be helpful on each of the areas, although thinking what that would like for the one on giving is a bit of a stretch!
We’ll be giving practical help in terms of arranging personal finances, trying to lay out a careful line on amounts (I’m not going to teach tithing, but I am going to teach generosity), and stuff on setting up standing orders, online giving and so forth. We are looking more generally at how we teach on giving, which might be part of a bigger issue on debt and finance.
This sounds invaluable. Will you be making the materials available for others to use, either to purchase or to access online?
See my comment to Steve: at this stage, it’s not mine enough to do that with. Give it a few years and an infinite number of versions and I shall certainly think about it!
Sounds great! Let me second the request for making this material more widely available. The two (v old!) books I used to find most helpful with students were David Watson’s Live a New Life and Michael Green’s New Life, New Lifestyle. Are they still around?
Ha ha! I think if I sold it a certain S Baptist pastor at a certain Californian megachurch might get a bit peeved! The aim is to be really practical and information rich; taking a day to do it means we shall structure in some space for people to be on their own and try it out. Im thinking of putting together a prayer journal around it too, in order to encourage people to take a quiet day each year.
Hi Chris I wondered if this resource was closer to being published – I would love to see this valuable tool for discipleship. Blessings, Rob
Thanks, Rob – I’m afraid not. I have other projects, so this one has gone down the list