I was a bit disappointed that no-one commented on my report that our Circuit Disciple group had completed our study of the Disciple 4 course, especially as I believe we are probably the first group in the UK to have done so. This is probably because I mentioned it in my post on our Circuit Farewell Service. It could also be because of the current difficulties being experienced by the Methodist Publishing House that necessitates all study materials having to be ordered direct from Cokesbury in America via the Disciple website http://www.cokesbury.com/disciple.
However, I want to draw attention to the tremendous benefits that come from the study of the Disciple Courses - in discipline, in fellowship and, most of all, in personal transformation as we all walk closer with Jesus. It seems very daunting at first to commit to spending 34 weeks in in-depth Bible study (for the Disciple 1 course means covering most of the Bible in nine months), but all who make this commitment speak enthusiastically of the experience. Personally, I found the Disciple 2 course to have the deepest, most lasting effect on my Christian journey, though each course added to the others.
So I would urge you to seriously consider committing yourselves to a Disciple course this year. When a number of members in the same church commit themselves in this way, the effect on the church is quite extraordinary.
But if you really and truly feel that such a long commitment is not for you, please consider whether your house group could follow one of the six short Disciple courses that are now available, covering 8, 10 or 11 weeks. The titles of these are -
Invitation to Psalms
Invitation to John
Invitation to the New Testament
Invitation to the Old Testament
Invitation to Genesis
Invitation to Romans
Also I was surprised to find that after Disciple 4, they list two further 30-week courses -
Jesus in the Gospels and
I am excited to read about 'Christian Believer' on the Disciple website because it looks to me as though this study could revitalise a church if enough people could be signed up to discover what it is we Christians really believe!
If you are alone in wanting to take a Disciple course, I have good news for you! I understand that, just as blogging and Facebook can form groups of friends, it is now posible to become part of an on-line Disciple group! So do make enquiries about this, if you think this is the way in for you.
Finally, I heard a whisper that our Connexional Team are about to resurrect the resourcing of Disciple courses in the UK. I do hope and pray that this is more than a rumour because the Disciple courses are such a powerful tool to enable earnest, committed Christians to grow. Over to you!