For the majority of Christians most of their time is spent away from church or from church activities and the big challenge for them is how they live out their Christian lifestyle in a non-christian environment. An even more relevant challenge is the issue of what their church is doing to help their members be faithful stewards and effective missionaries away from church environs.
For the past year in West Scotland Division of The Salvation Army, efforts have been made to work with around ten corps to address this very issue and the results, in the main, have been truly encouraging. Small group work has provided opportunity for participants to see the potential for intentional learning and intentional practice in the matter of Christian discipleship
The objectives of the training are clearly defined:
• Train Christians in Whole Life Discipleship
• Challenge Christians to influence others in Whole Life Discipleship
• Provide Christians with on-going discipleship support
• Equip Christians for meaningful ministry
• Work towards creating Whole Life Discipleship congregations
Whole Life Discipleship does not offer a quick-fix solution but it does offer a focus, and explores the implications of that focus for individual Christians and for our churches
Delivery of Study
The material used to date has been sourced from the LICC, The London Institute for Contemporary Christianity, and the sessions have been designed to help participants to discover their frontline and to be fruitful there for the Kingdom. Participants are able to take serious steps to make small degree shifts in their personal spiritual developments as well as grasping opportunities to speak to non-Christians on their frontline. An additional benefit is that of encouraging accountability in the group and this helps people to hold to their discipleship intentions.
At the start of each monthly meeting there is opportunity to share stories of the spiritual journey individuals have been on. These fellowships have proved powerful with many participants speaking of finding a new confidence in speaking to others about their faith. A couple of corps are now implementing the TTT (This Time Tomorrow) slot in meetings where members speak on Sunday morning of what they will be doing on Monday morning. This not only allows people to share their story as it affects their working life but allows others to pray for specific matters that the speaker highlights for prayer.
The regular meetings tend to be on a weeknight every two weeks or once a month. However there are a variety of different settings according to the local programme. These have included a Sunday afternoon or evening in place of a normal meeting or on a weekday afternoon with retired members or others not at work on that day. Other alternatives include Quarterly Saturday or Sunday Seminars or Retreats.
It is envisaged that corps undertaking this process will continue to hold Discipleship Accountability Groups on a monthly or fortnightly basis following the initial teaching and so work towards being a Whole Life Discipleship Church. In addition to the material provided by the LICC there is good teaching material available from alternative sources which will allow groups to keep up the momentum of this kind of support. It is hoped that the leadership of such groups will be local people who could well develop into spiritual directors for their fellowship.
Being part of a sending church
Being equipped for ministry
Being accountable as a Christian
Being a catalyst for change
For details on available material from DHQ contact Major David Burns at West Scotland Division, firstname.lastname@example.org
For advice and/or delivery of teaching contact Bob McIntyre, email@example.com
Divisional Support Officer