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By means of grace – How Disciple Agency is helping Christians live out Acts 2:42

By means of grace
DISCIPLE Trainers Gathering June 2023

We are all familiar with this Bible verse, or should be, for it is one of the seminal verses undergirding the Christian Church: “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42). ”

The verse presents, very simply, what has become known as the “three means of grace” for a Christian’s journey: Scripture study, Christian fellowship and spiritual disciplines (prayer).

These three means of grace were central in the lives of the early Methodists. John Wesley defined the united societies as “a company of men [women] having the form and seeking the power of godliness, united in order to pray together, to receive the word of exhortation, and to watch over one another in love, that they may help each other to work out their own salvation” (Works, VIII: 269). Early Methodists gathered in societies, sometimes daily, for early-morning Scripture study and preaching that provided a steady diet of the Word, and shaped their thoughts and actions throughout the day. They also gathered in classes and bands, to “speak freely and plainly the true state of our souls, with the faults we have committed in thoughts, word and deed, and the temptations we have felt since our last meeting”.

The Disciple Agency (DA) was formally established in August 1998 as an agency of The Methodist Church in Singapore. Our mission is to build the body of Christ through the means of grace, by promoting and developing the DISCIPLE Bible Study materials and other related programmes.

Our Study Programmes: DISCIPLE and Companions in Christ

The DISCIPLE Bible Study has Wesleyan roots. The study encourages Christians to delve into different books of the Bible, learning together in small groups for support and accountability. DA’s second programme, Companions in Christ (CIC), is a spiritual formation programme with a focus on Christian disciplines and tradition. Both DISCIPLE and CIC seek to help Christians to grow as disciples of Christ in community.

DA’s vision is that every Methodist who goes through DISCIPLE and CIC will be rooted in the Word of God, form deep spiritual bonds with friends in the church and discover their vocation and cultivate spiritual habits to support their growth, so as to be transformed by Christ and live as authentic disciples for Christ in the world. Today, we give thanks to God that many thousands of DISCIPLE and CIC graduates are actively serving in their local churches.

Join our DISCIPLE and CIC programmes and be inspired! To find out more go to https://disciple.methodist.org.sg.

Here are some of the testimonies of participants in our courses:

Praise from DISCIPLE participants

“借着红本《门徒》我能够有系统地纵览圣经一遍……人性的问题让我正视人类的软弱和不足,使我谦卑顺服圣灵的引导来胜过每一天,做个得胜的门徒。”

魏忠灵
卫理公会宏茂桥堂

“红本《门徒》的第18课的标题使彻底的门徒,在那周耶稣的教导和呼召颠覆了我的优先秩序!《门徒》调整了我的服事观……服事中活出主门徒的生命……慢慢从一位以工作效率为重,变成以人为本,以上帝为中心的门徒。”

杜百合
卫理公会盛港礼拜堂

“As a growing Christian, I always had a burning desire to read the entire Bible in a year. I have also learnt to accept value other classmates’ views and experience during the study.”

Kohila Govindaraju
Ang Mo Kio Tamil Methodist Church

“The DISCIPLE Journey has been one that is enriching and transformational … from outward compliance to inner joyful obedience.”

Hau Yin Siau
Covenant Community Methodist Church

“DISCIPLE places me in a faith community that is committed to our walk with Christ, provoking one another towards love and good works … DISCIPLE prepares my heart to serve God with the right attitude and motive.”

Candice Chia
Paya Lebar Methodist Church

“DISCIPLE sessions are like guided tours through the Bible and the history of God’s people. DISCIPLE enabled me to encounter God’s Word daily and has helped me adjust and set my inner compass with God’s Word.”

Anthony Wong
Wesley Methodist Church

Here are some of the testimonies of participants in our courses:

Praise from DISCIPLE participants

“《基督里的良伴》使我的属灵视野更加开阔,属灵操练更加深入。我深深地明白上帝才是我最亲密的良伴 …… 这段生命的旅程,同伴们互相扶持,共同建立基督的心思。”

杨旭
卫理公会盛港礼拜堂

“CIC allows me to slow down to savour God’s Word and its accompanying application for a particular stage in my spiritual journey … Really thankful I was introduced to this spiritual formation group where I learnt to develop heart knowledge in addition to head knowledge.”

Laura Lee
Covenant Community Methodist Church

books

DISCIPLE AGENCY’S PROGRAMMES AND NEW INITIATIVES

DISCIPLE I:

BECOMING DISCIPLES THROUGH BIBLE STUDY is the Foundational Overview. This first DISCIPLE Bible study serves as the basis for all other studies in the DISCIPLE family that follow. Over the course of 34 weeks, DISCIPLE covers the entire Bible (Old and New Testaments), following the biblical story from Creation to New Jerusalem.

DISCIPLE II:

INTO THE WORD INTO THE WORLD is a 32-week study which offers a deeper examination of Genesis, Exodus, Luke and Acts, emphasising the rhythm of coming to God and going for God… approaching all experiences of life as opportunities for faithful witness and service.

DISCIPLE III:

REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE is a 32-week study which examines the connection between memory and identity as the people of God in the Old Testament Prophets and the Letters of Paul. Participants will find common themes, including calls to remember, calls to repent, calls for renewal, and calls for community.

DISCIPLE IV:

UNDER THE TREE OF LIFE conveys the promise of finding shelter, security, and rest in God’s love. In this 32-week study of the Old Testament Writings, the Gospel of John, the Epistles of John, James, Jude and finally, Revelation, participants will see the entire process of living towards final completion of rest and reward.

Companions in Christ Series

The Companions in Christ (CIC) series offers a powerfully transforming small-group experience that builds spiritual practices within congregations, helping participants be more fully open to God and to one another.

CIC is a 28-week journey, involving regular Scripture reading. Each session begins with a reading followed by five daily exercises that help illuminate the theme and prepare for the small group meeting. The exercises may involve some combination of Scripture reading, spiritual practice, reflection questions, and journaling. Throughout the week participants commit to about 30 minutes each day.

Going digital

In 2022, DA set up a Digitalisation and New Programmes Fund to support projects on the creative use of technology, to develop new programmes or enhance our existing ones. We are in the process of converting our materials to e-books and building an online repository for our facilitators. We plan to soft launch our new webpage in early 2024.

New programmes

All programmes promoted by DA are specially curated to ensure the content are of sound doctrine and good pedagogy. We translate the material whenever possible so as to serve both the Chinese and English congregations under The Methodist Church in Singapore and the churches in the region.

In the pipeline are:

– Christian Believers

This study focuses on classical teachings of the Christian faith—presenting, explaining, and interpreting them in a way that participants can understand, using words, symbols, and hymns. Over a 30-week period, participants will examine the writings of ancient and modern Christian commentators and view video presentations by leading Bible scholars.

– Exploring the Way

A 6-week orientation to spirituality and the essential elements of faith. You will learn basic concepts and language of the Christian spiritual life to understand and deepen your experience of God. This will prepare you well for Companions in Christ.

– The Ways Series

These 8- to 12-week programmes are for graduates of CIC who wish to deepen different aspects of spiritual life. They provide the biblical, theological and practical framework for deeper reflections and spiritual practice.

DISCIPLE I Chinese Facilitators' Training in Feb 2023
DISCIPLE I Chinese Facilitators’ Training in Feb 2023
DISCIPLE I English Facilitators' Training in Feb 2023
DISCIPLE I English Facilitators’ Training in Feb 2023

Rev Lisa Yu is the Director of Disciple Agency. She is also Associate Pastor attached to Sengkang Methodist Church. / Photos courtesy of Disciple Agency

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