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I firmly believe that the future of Britain requires a radical change of priorities within our churches. We need to seriously disciple our people far beyond Alpha.
There is a growing recognition of the need to deliberately form disciples who make disciples. This may be seen, for example, in the whole life discipleship agenda of various Christian organisations. In the Church of England it is a common theme of the recent report: Setting God’s People Free. At the same time there is a dearth of biblical and systematic materials to facilitate this transformation amongst the laity. There are effective introductory tools such as Alpha, Christianity Explored and the Bible Course. Beyond this there are only limited discipleship and formation materials and these tend to be used piecemeal and locally, rather than offered coherently and strategically. Such materials can also be seen as unduly closed and therefore lack universal appeal.
GOLD Project materials offers an immediate resource with potential to fill this strategic gap. The lower level courses (which will be offered in partnership with SEAN) have a proven track record of forming disciples through programmed biblical learning and have lead to effective mission and church growth worldwide, even in non-book cultures. The higher level courses have a similar discipleship focus and have been used to form missional leaders and foster vocation across the breadth of churches. Both levels reflect a simple, yet crucial threefold pattern for learning and growth through engagement with the Bible and Christ:
Observation; Explanation; and Application
Distinctives which these materials offer include:
Discipleship and mission focussed
Biblical, yet open and accessible
Proven in missional situations and academically rigorous
Systematic and coherent, with flexibility for different contexts
A range of courses for enquirers, new disciples and potential leaders
Manageable units, with training resources for local leaders
I believe the Gold courses are quite simply a gift to the church... As an examining chaplain for my Diocese I have incorporated the Gold courses into our training resources for Ordinands.