We are in the fortunate position of living in a Christian resource-rich period of time. No other generation has had such access to the teaching of the Bible and other resources that come with it. Only a few years ago it was impossible to hear any sermon other than the one you heard while attending your local church. Now, I can listen to one sermon on the way to work and another on the way home. That’s crazy.
The amount of books, podcasts, music, articles and blog posts, devotionals, and different versions of the Bible give a plethora of options in helping us to understand and know God better. But, it can also cause a tremendous amount of confusion because there is so much choice.
Therefore, I find it helpful to think about how I’m going to grow in my understanding of God and develop as a follower of Jesus by having a plan. In previous years I’ve attempted to read the Bible through in a year. There are many good plans to help with this and I find committing to reading four chapters a day the most consistent method. Having said this, I haven’t been overly successful lately.
Because I enjoy learning, particularly through reading and listening, I’ve decided to approach my discipleship development in a different way for 2015. Rather than have broad goals of reading the Bible through in a year and praying regularly I’ve sought to make them a bit more specific.
In structuring this plan I’ve broken my development into four areas; biblical theology, historical theology, systematic theology, and practical theology. Within these four areas I then have specific resources I’d like to read or listen to at different times throughout the year. See below as an example:
- Read the book of Jeremiah 5 times
- Read a commentary on Jeremiah
- Reach the book of Hebrews 5 times
- Read a commentary on Hebrews
- Read Adoniram Judson and the Missionary Call (Errol Hulse)
- Read Adoniram Judson: How Few There Are Who Die So Hard! (John Piper)
- Read Adoniram Judson (Jason G. Duesing)
- Read To The Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson (Courtney Anderson)
- Read a biography on John Bunyan
- Read the Works of John Bunyan
- Read The Pilgrim’s Progress
- Read ‘The Five Barley Loaves – The History of Australian Baptists in Mission’
- Read 3-4 books on the topic of ‘Salvation’ (Do you have anything to recommend in this area?)
- Actually pray
- Read Prayer (JI Packer)
- Read Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God (Timothy Keller)
There are many resources to read, watch, and listen to. There are conferences to go to and church to attend. There are small groups to join and other community activities to be part of. There is no doubt that discipleship is communal. I don’t want to negate this. But on a personal level I also want to continue to grow in my knowledge of God through his Word, what He’s done in history, through the teaching of others and then seek to apply it.
It’s at least a plan, and I like plans, even if they don’t always get achieved the way I think they should be. So next year I’m going in with a plan to develop as a disciple. What about you?