This post by Nigel Coles was originally published at Seventy Two
I’m super-excited the launching of the Discipleship Cycle App is finally here! Am I allowed to say that? At the risk of sounding American that’s how I feel; super-excited! I’m under no illusions a digital application (I think that’s what ‘App’ is short for) will not, in and of itself, change anything, but if this small offering can contribute to the spiritual renewal we so desperately need, I’ll be grateful. Here are three reasons why:
Because we have a part to play in the mission of Jesus
One of my greatest challenges has been bridging the gap between the mission of Jesus, which he invites every disciple to be a part of and the reality of the church. Jesus multiplies, whereas the church, most typically, divides. I frequently point out the practice of Jesus we read in Luke 10:1-12, where he ‘sends out seventy-two others’ (most of whom could neither have known as much about Jesus factually, as we do today, nor for as long as an average Christian in the UK) and the practice of most churches (as a rule of thumb, the larger the size of the church, the smaller the percentage of new people coming to faith in Jesus Christ, as a direct result of one-to-one faith sharing, in whatever form). One of my observations is the clear correlation between seeing the arena for both ‘ministry’ and ‘mission’ as part of the church and frequently by default within the church building and/or among existing Christians.
The Discipleship Cycle App has the potential to encourage every believer to listen more regularly to the voice of God through every passage of scripture. God still speaks right here, right now, wherever you are, whoever you’re with.
Because he wants us to go beyond listening
How often do we go beyond listening? I’ve been asking groups of Christians how often they sense they hear the voice of God, speaking personally to them on a Sunday morning in a church gathering. There’s usually a good majority who respond positively. However, when I ask how many can recall what God said to them last Sunday, the percentage of positives drops dramatically to a maximum ten per cent.
If I then ask who has identified something as God speaking to them about anything and they have acted on it, within the last month, is ten per cent of the ten per cent. That means, if you are able to identify something God has spoken to you, during the past month and you can identify how you’ve acted upon it subsequently, you are one in a hundred!
I’m less interested either in how many of us feel good about ourselves or beat ourselves up emotionally with guilt, than I am about seeing the effect of the word of God achieving its purpose through ordinary people like you and I multiplied.
Because Jesus wants to see the fruit of the spirit grow in abundance in our lives
There are a couple of passages in the Bible I’ve ‘understood’ intellectually for many years, but only really understood deeply in practice more recently.
The first is in Isaiah 55:11: my word that goes out from my mouth … will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire. I’ve now grasped the primary means by which God accomplishes his purposes is through people like you and me. Wow! I want more and more people to grasp this too.
The second, in John 15:8: this is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. Somehow, whilst I recognised the fruit Jesus is talking about is in our lives, but did a mental flip and look for it primarily in others’. My testimony since working with the Discipleship Cycle is recent years have been my most fruitful yet. My hope and prayer is for many more disciples to be more and more fruitful.
Why not give the Discipleship Cycle a go for a few weeks? It’s free from the App Store or Google Play (just search for “The Discipleship Cycle”) and really easy to use. I tend to stay with a passage or verse over a number of days, making my way slowly around the cycle and listening, looking. living and learning with God, for his glory.