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Why wait ‘til Lent Courses

January 16, 2015

Here are three great courses for Lent - or for any time of year: ‘Pilgrim’, ‘Moving On’ and ‘Table Talk’. (If you are just thinking about Lent there is a special Table Talk for Easter which will shortly be available as a free app for the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon). New Picture (5) Pilgrim You can see some of the Pilgrim videos here and find out about the breadth of the course at the website www.pilgrimcourse.org. It has been successfully used in Crickhowell and in the Beacons Benefice with Llyn Safaddan New Picture (6) Moving On! Is the next stage of the Start! course (an introduction to Christianity) and has a range of great discipleship material. You can find out more about the course here. New Picture (7) There are a wide range of Table Talk games. They are designed to stimulate spiritual conversations so, whilst they are excellent material for a series of church group meetings, they are also designed to work as outreach material in a cafe, school or pub setting. They are available as a boxed game and also as an app for phones or tablets. Here is the website. Here’s some theory about the value of courses (in Lent or at any time) Recent research (‘From Anecdote to Evidence’) shows us that growing churches don’t just wait for Lent to come around before they run some kind of discipleship course. In fact, for many churches, Lent is a time to take a break from regular nurture courses in order to take part in a wider gathering – like an ecumenical or deanery course. This is what From Anecdote to Evidence says on relationship between nurture courses and growth: COMMITTED TO NURTURING NEW AND EXISTING CHRISTIANS Two thirds of churches which said they offered encouragement and support through specific discipleship courses or courses “preparing members to be a Christian witness in their daily lives” showed growth. In those which reported none or “some emphasis through preaching”, less than half were growing. (You can find out some of the other church practices that are common to growing churches on pages 8-11 of ‘From Anecdote to Evidence’ – they make compelling reading.) So there you have it! If we invest in regular discipleship courses it is more likely that our churches will grow. There are courses for the different stages of our journey to faith – and ongoing development as disciples; and some courses like Emmaus and Pilgrim that offer material for every stage. We are recommending three ‘off the shelf’ courses this year but you could choose to design your own courses, tailored to your communities, or, if you haven’t already used it, try ‘Gathering. Growing . Going’ which you can download free from the resources page of this website.         Featured Image: Nikkimaria (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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