Monday, December 18, 2006

discipleship material

I am playing around with discipling options for next year. We already have 1-1 options around growth coaching. But we’ve been playing with adding in block course based options. My underlying principle is: multiple options for multiple learning styles.

So I am considering 3 options
1 : a visual option, using the Nooma videos
2 : a storytelling option, (more on this as it develops cos it is something that is being Opawa designed.
3 : a content based option. I am quite drawn to Living Faith by Tom Wright, because I like the breadth of topics (including 5 on the Bible plus Christian history).

Just wondering if anyone out there has used either Tom Wright stuff or the Nooma videos in discipleship? If so, what was helpful? what was not? Only answer if you’ve used them small group and discipling contexts (compared to in a worship service context).

Posted by steve at 08:10 AM


  1. What kind of content do you intend to teach?

    Comment by Andrew Brown — December 19, 2006 @ 12:09 pm

  2. We used the Tom Wright DVDs in a pre-church, bible-study context. They are OK, though I don’t think they represent Tom Wright at his best. The presentation (not Tom’s) is ridiculously slick, with the full Hollywood Voiceover before each session. Still, you can get a few laughs out of that.

    You simply must write your own questions: the ones which come with the DVD are dreadful. But the material on the actual DVDs does give plenty of room for ongoing discussion.

    I wonder, though, if you’d be better sticking to a different Tom format. I dunno: work through ‘Following Jesus’, or ‘Simply Christian’ or something, even though these aren’t multimedia. I still think the disarming simplicity of ‘Following Jesus’ makes it one of the best things Tom Wright has written.

    Comment by Tim McKenzie — December 19, 2006 @ 12:55 pm

  3. tim,
    i am interested in using it as a post-Alpha option. i am particularly interested in the content of Tom; i like that he looks at the Bible and Church history; and the use of DVD means that I can look for group leaders who are good at discussion, rather than presentation. ..

    so can you tell me if you think the content of tom covers a good number of the discipleship bases?


    Comment by steve — December 19, 2006 @ 1:31 pm

  4. While I don’t know anything of these people, the fact that you mention that he focuses on the bible and church history makes me happy.

    I’ve seen some christian DVD’s which are barely more than an inspirational story, and which at the end of the day leaves the viewer with nothing more than a couple of warm fuzzies, which fade within a day or a week at absolute tops.

    People need to be taught facts and bible knowledge, stuff which time will not fade. That is when they will be most effective.

    Comment by Andrew Brown — December 19, 2006 @ 1:46 pm

  5. Andrew, we did some planning around discipleship on Friday. These are the 2 questions I asked “how have you grown?” and “how do we grow our children?” —

    let me be provactive – i don’t think Jesus taught facts and bible knowledge to his disciples. isn’t there a lot more to discipleship than head knowledge?


    Comment by steve — December 19, 2006 @ 1:52 pm

  6. Hey Steve

    In answer to your question: a qualified “yes”. He certainly covers such things, but (as is to be expected, I guess) it’s either quite dense (in his approach to the gospels, say) or quite light (2000 years of church history in 35 minutes…). If your leaders have good breadth, and have read Tom Wright (or whoever), then that’s fine, because they can dig out some of the key ideas from the density, and highlight these, so keeping the discussion on track. But if your leaders don’t have that depth, then some of the subtlety of Wright’s thinking is likely to get lost, and what he says might be squashed (say) into a reasonably narrow evangelical line.

    One other point: don’t expect a highly interactive DVD. ie: after the cheesy introductions, the DVD really only shows talking heads, with the odd use of text to reinforce the key points (sometimes not very well, IMHO).

    But as a follow-up to Alpha, I’d say it’s probably quite a good option. I haven’t seen Nooma, but my suspicion is that the Wright DVDs would appeal more to a thinking group, whereas Nooma might go better with a younger, more media-savvy group.



    Comment by tim mckenzie — December 19, 2006 @ 2:51 pm

  7. Jesus was also often talking to people who had intimate knowledge of the OT, which Jesus himself spent the first 30 years of his life learning before he went out into the street.

    Comment by Andrew Brown — December 19, 2006 @ 3:08 pm

  8. Hi Steve
    We have used Nooma with both youth group studies and as a basis for a young adult small group and we find them excelent. The booklets give some good and some not so good questions to get the group going and if you use all their questions and statements it will keep you going for a couple of hours with an active bunch. Reflect filter and focus the questions before and you can have some great discissions. Rob can sometimes be a little difficult to listen to and focus on but the book brings the poins back just fine and the DVDs are only 10 min so not too bad for most peoples attention span.
    P.S. You will find Baptist Youth Min. recommend the series to Youth workers but they work well across all ages!

    Comment by Peter White — December 21, 2006 @ 2:01 pm

  9. Steve – I’ve used the NOOMA video’s with youth discipleship cells and with adult home groups. In both settings people have responded really well with very open discussions. The difficulty I guess, as ever, is taking it beyond just talking and helping people join the dots as it were in their thinking and in what God’s doing in their lives. I guess that’s where the one to one stuff is important.

    Comment by brodie — December 23, 2006 @ 1:39 pm

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