Going Deeper: A Journey with Jesus
How this Series Came to Be
Over the years, at conferences, retreats, and workshops where we leaders of Peace Lutheran Church, Charlottesville, Virginia, have led presentations about congregational spiritual growth and discipleship groups, we have been asked why we don’t create our own discipleship curriculum. The answer is simple. The task seemed overwhelming if not impossible. Where would we start? How would we do it? How could we come up with the people-hours necessary to write and produce such a resource? Besides, although not all of our participants were enthusiastically supportive of Greg Ogden’s Discipleship Essentials, it still was the best discipleship workbook we could find (and could we actually improve upon that?).
Somewhere along the way (in other words, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit) we came up with an approach, and then a plan. What if we designed five worship and adult education series, so that they would provide the foundational material for our own discipleship curriculum? And that is what we did. We planned worship and education series (Yearning for God; Who is This God We Believe In?; Come to the Water; Life on the Vine; The Body of Christ), and asked congregational members to write daily devotions to accompany each series. Much of the material in this series is based on sermons, course content, and devotions from these worship series. As you read the chapters, you will notice names of people (members of Peace Lutheran Church, Charlottesville, VA) who wrote particular devotions to accompany the original worship series. When no name appears, the section was written by the author, John Herman.
How to Use this Resource
This discipleship series is intended for use by small groups and individuals, for people new to the faith as well as those who have grown up in the church. Although written by a Lutheran pastor for a Lutheran congregation, the resource invites a wider mainline Christian audience. The series is designed to promote daily quiet time dedicated to being in the Word, study, and prayer, spiritual disciplines that promote the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. There are six days of readings in each chapter. You will get more out of it when you read and reflect daily rather than trying to cover an entire week in one or two sessions.
You will also get more out of it by using this resource together in a small group of 3-6 people. I am convinced that faith grows best in the context of small groups. That is, we are more likely to be growing spiritually when walking together with other disciples. Making disciples involves developing significant Christ-centered relationships, and that happen in small groups.
Small groups will want to use the chapter section: Taking It Further: Small Group and Chapter Summary Questions, as a starting point for their weekly discussions. Begin together with a review of this chapter, and decide about a small group covenant.