Where’s the growth? Why isn’t anyone listening? Why aren’t people responding? If you’re a preacher you may well recognise these similar thoughts frequently on a Sunday evening, as you reflect on what’s gone on (or not) during the day.
We all want to see growth, but as none of us are immune from our instant, consumer society – we want it now. But people don’t grow like that. I’ve been seduced into thinking otherwise too frequently. The outward responses I’ve observed because of preaching are real and true, right then, but they don’t represent instant transformation, which necessarily results in a more Christ-like life tomorrow morning.
It’s not just others. I recall one of the powerful encounters with the Spirit of God in my own life. It was as if I was having open heart surgery, hearing again the words ‘I will put a new heart within you’. In that moment I was overwhelmed by the glory of God, I felt closer to God than ever, my heart was ablaze for God’s glory, but driving away from that meeting within an hour I was abruptly made aware I remained a sinner, solely saved by grace. As a Christian leader I live with the same tension everyone else does. In my best moments, Jesus is Lord in practice. In my worst and sometimes the very next moment, I’m first.
The Discipleship Cycle won’t teach you or anyone else anything new, the word of God will do that. The Discipleship Cycle won’t change your or anyone’s else’s life, that’s the role of the Holy Spirit. What I do know is this. I can trust the word of God and I can trust the Holy Spirit. This is where The Discipleship Cycle comes into play because it will help you and anyone, to be in the place where God can more readily do his work in and through your life.
I wanted to encourage you, if you haven’t already, to download The Discipleship Cycle App and try it for yourself and to consider who else in your reach might benefit from doing the same – whether that’s the whole congregation, your small groups, someone you’re individually discipling right now, or simply your family and friends.
For me personally, those days of reading a passage of scripture, closing the Bible and that being as far as it goes, in one ear and out the other, have not gone forever. However, I can testify to a deeper sense of collaborating with God’s purposes as he intends, in and through my life since regularly working through the Discipleship Cycle process and I hope you’ll find the same.