AFTER Alpha, what? In the case of some churches, the answer seems to be “very little”. I recently spoke to somebody who enthusiastically told me they had just done the Alpha course for the 25th time. This sounded to me akin to compulsively and repeatedly walking through the entrance of Sainsbury’s, without doing much actual shopping.
Video-based discipleship resources for home groups are starting to appear to fill the gap. One of the most popular is the 13-session Freedom in Christ course. The current version was produced in 2015 by a British team, based on the writings of the American author Neil T. Anderson, which view the Christian life primarily through the prism of spiritual warfare.
Now from the same stable comes the Disciple course, a ten-session version of Freedom in Christ for young adults. Each session features about half an hour of film, in four bite-size chunks. The materials are uniformly attractive and easy to use, and the videos are well-produced. Youth for Christ’s Dan Lodge makes a particularly engaging presenter of the five-minute opening videos for each session.
In keeping with Anderson’s source material, the course explores the discipleship dilemma of professing faith in Christ while still living in thrall to ungodly habits and attitudes.
Biblical passages on Satan are understood literally, and evil and temptation are framed more in individual, personal terms than corporate, societal, or global. “Strongholds” and “footholds” identified include the occult, sex outside marriage, self-image, unwillingness to forgive others, and ways in which our feelings can lead us astray. Steps towards finding freedom in Christ are identified.
This is a lively, well-produced resource. How usable you find it will depend largely on whether you think it outlines an authentic theology of discipleship, or reflects too much the emphases of an introspective, Satan-fascinated brand of Evangelicalism.
The Revd Mike Starkey is a tutor for the Church Army and author of the Faith Pictures evangelism course.
Disciple: Life, Freedom, Purpose
Steve Goss, producer and writer
David Edwards, Jess Regnant, Rob Peabody and Dan Lodge, presenters
Monarch £12.99 (Leader’s Guide)
Church Times Bookshop £11.70
Disciple DVD £70 (£63); 978-0-85721-704-4; Disciple Guide £7.99 (£7.20); 978-0-8571-701-1)