Disciple’s Way begins at Newbury Baptist Church
This is a journey which began with a fading sign on an overgrown path in a silted- up port in Normandy. Spotting the sign below in the Summer of 2008 in Port a la Duc, I got to thinking about what might make people row across the English Channel and then walk all the way to Santaigo de Compostela on pilgrimage.
Out of that came the Disciple’s Way course. Out of that came a sabbatical studying pilgrimage in different contexts. Out of that came the commission to write a book for Authentic – which will see the light of day in a couple of weeks.
Out of all that came the Disciple’s Way course with Newbury Baptist Church, starting yesterday. Over two sessions we had over 80 people, with ages ranging form the teens to the eighties. There was raucous laughter, heartfelt testimony, brow-furrowing study and genuine insight on offer. For me, the most revealing part of the evening was when people wrote their own ‘advert’ for the Disciple’s Way. After considering the cost of ‘leaving home’ they were asked to consider how they might ‘sell’the benefits of doing so. Answers ranged from the enigmatic ‘Jesus’ to the quirky ‘its not such a Lonely Planet‘ . Answers are all contained in the wordle below.
A friend then put the phrases into a cognition tool, with fascinating results. Amongst the things it said about this group of disciples were:
- You are altruistic – you feel fulfilled when helping others, and will go out of your way to do so
- Your choices are driven by a desire for discovery
- You are self-controlled- you have control over your desires, which are not particularly intense
- You think it is important to take care of the people around you
All of these are quite predictable, perhaps. What about this one, though?
- You consider both helping others and independence to guide a large part of what you do
How much independence does a disciple truly have, I wonder? In the West we tend to see ourselves very much as individuals who have ‘signed up’ for the journey of faith; only to find that we then make the journey in company. In other cultures, I suspect it may be different.