Discipleship Academy and SoulSpace

I’ve had an inspiring evening with these two little events. They won’t mean much to some so I’ll try and explain.

“Discipleship” is lots of things. For me it’s the process of being a disciple of Jesus Christ, learning his ways, following in his footsteps, trying to lead a godly life. What’s a godly life you might ask? Well, part of the process is finding that out. There are general rules but it’s worked out in different ways for each person, and each time.
We’ve just had a new youth minister start at our church and he’s really interested in helping people on this journey and is exploring ways of doing this. Discipleship Academy and SoulSpace are two of these things.
Discipleship Academy is mostly for the young people of our church, but I’m tagging along as a “fellow journeyer”. I’m hesitant to call myself a “leader” in this activity because I’m actually going through the process myself.
This is intended to be 12, monthly sessions looking at, and equipping us to do discipleship.
I missed the first session, but went along today and it was really inspiring. The youth minister has produced a set of what I would call “tools” (things like study, reading, finding space, journalling and attending church) which we’re all discussing the use of and encouraging each other to actually do. It was really good and I’m sure that these tools and sessions will be useful for us all as we try to do “discipleship” together.
SoulSpace is the new minister giving our Sunday evening church service a bit of an overhaul. We won’t be doing this every week, but it will happen 2 weekends every month.
The idea of this is that rather than do a typical church service (a “hymn sandwich” as he called it today), we’ll be trying to do church things in different ways. Sometimes we’ll sing, sometimes we wont. Sometimes there will be a talk from the front. Sometimes we’ll have group discussions. Sometimes we’ll have other creative forms of worship or prayer. We’ll just try, as a community, to learn from God and respond to him in different ways.
And community is key in both of these activities. This is something we’ll do together. But also something that is not confined to Sunday evenings – the things we learn, the things we’re encouraged to do, will, hopefully, spill over into the rest of our lives.
So tonight we’ve looked at:
  • using the Bible as a tool. How can we use it? How do we break it down into bite-sized chunks, read it, understand it, and apply it to our lives; and
  • authenticity – being real. How do we carry all this church stuff with us in our daily lives. Are we honest with people about who we are, and what we believe in? Or do we hide for fear of being “found out” and embarassed about that key part of our lives: our faith?
These are both difficult things to grapple with – Jesus didn’t promise us following him would be easy. But I’ve been really inspired tonight in both these things, and the fact that a little pocket of people around me are also grappling with them helps a LOT.
We also had a really good church service this morning. The speaker did lots of storytelling, which I always find a powerful way of communicating. The story was of Joseph and the key thing I got from it was that he wasn’t called by God. He didn’t have God speaking from a burning bush like Moses, or a revelation from angels or anything like that. He just did what he thought he should be doing and God lead him and worked through him. Some people have things that God clearly wants them to do, but the rest of us shouldn’t feel left out – God can do great things through all of us who follow him, wherever we are!
It’s weird writing publicly about my faith, but in the interests of taking a step in discipleship and being real, I feel I must be writing more about what God is doing and saying. My faith is more important than my cycling, gardening, housework, DIY, music and technology interests, but that probably doesn’t come across here. I hope it will in future!
Posted in God