Yesterday was spent learning about discipleship. Hodge Hill Church was one of 29 which was surveyed by the Saltley Trust in a research project on “What helps disciples grow?” Lots of food for thought!
The opening sentence of the summary of findings says this:
We believe our research paints a hopeful and even joyous picture of Christians committed to developing their own growth in faith; and a spiritual vibrancy in today’s churches that can easily be overlooked.
Some snapshots of what stood out for me during the day…
The day was structured with headings that you might have on a service sheet. Early on we had confession – “What have you done to stop others growing their faith?” A very challenging question for someone like me with 30+ years of ministry to reflect on! I look forward to seeing an analysis of the responses to that question!
The idea that a good number of people appreciate silent prayer time in worship resonated with some of the other things I have been hearing lately.
Simon Foster who was presenting the findings talked about how what came through to him was congregations saying ‘we are thirsty and hungry’ but they were taking responsibility for this thus there was an invitation to take part in a journey people were already on.
There is increasingly urgent issue to help people talk about God – something I talk about in teaching sometimes.
95% of those surveyed think that their Christian growth is their responsibility.
75% believe that their Christian journey has been hampered by their own bad habits!
We read some passages from the Bible substituting learner or follower for disciple and also talked about whether apprentice was a better option… Generally thinking about the language we use seems helpful.
Leslie Francis shared some findings from the data too from an academic article he and otehrs had written – there were four areas which facilitated growth:
Growth through group activity
Growth through individual experience
Growth through church worship
Growth through public engagement
Of these growth through individual experience was the most important.
A challenge to reflect on was “In a world where resources are scarce, where do you put them?”
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