As I write this article I have just come back from a day with the Saint Peter’s Saltley Trust on the theme ‘What Makes Disciples Grow? The Saint Peter’s Saltley trust have funded a research project on the topic and a total of 29 churches took part from the West Midlands. The number of people who submitted useable questionnaires were 1,123. From this relatively small sample a number of conclusions were drawn and the research identified two indicators of Christian Growth (depth of discipleship and strength of vocation) and distinguished among four distinctive pathways to growth (growth through group activity, growth through individual experience, growth through church worship, growth through public engagement).
As we develop the School of Formation we will need to reflect on these findings and we will need to continue to listen to and be aware of the needs of people as they begin and as they continue their journey in their discipleship. As part of the School of Formation we will be promoting a course called Transforming Faith. This course is aimed at anyone who wants to know more about their faith and builds on their experience. Looking at the four pathways to growth offered by the research the course fulfils the growing through groups activity, it builds on the individual experience and makes people more aware of public engagement.
As we encourage people and ourselves in discipleship we need to be mindful of God’s call, the call to community and the call to friendship and relationship as evidenced in the call of Jesus to those first disciples.
Revd Canon Dr Susan Jones