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Will people rise to the challenge?

If you've read the information about the logic of the course content and the three streams that are involved, you might be enthusiastic to use the material, but also thinking something like this: "That's a reasonably big commitment of time and work for those doing the course, whether it's done in 10 weeks or spread out over a longer period. I can't even get my people to come to low-bar things. They'll come to church, and their home group, but I really struggle to get people involved in anything more."

We do understand this issue and why that might be your initial reaction. But please bear the following in mind:

(1) It's not a lot of extra commitment

The recommended way to use The Course of Your Life is within a small group that you stick with over some months. In other words, it's not a course that you will usually ask people to do on top of their commitment to another small group.

That being the case, if you run the course over 10 weeks, then there is the extra commitment of the one-to-one meetings and the two-day intensive. If you spread out the material over 18 weeks or so, it is really only the intensive that is extra—and many small groups have an annual weekend away as a normal part of their life together.

While there are some advantages to pushing people through the material at a reasonable pace—building momentum as each step of the course's logic is added—you can easily run the course in a way that suits the schedules of the people you are trying to recruit.


(2) Don't underestimate how interested people might be

There are real advantages to doing the course material intensively, over the 10-week sort of time frame, and the focus and commitment involved can actually be a positive. It communicates that this is something special and important—a significant opportunity to take stock of our lives, and think through what it's all about. As Tony Payne says in the 'Invitation' video, we're inviting people to think together about some pretty big and fundamental—hopefully life-changing—ideas. You don't get to pull all those ideas together from the Bible and see the implications without devoting a decent amount of time to it and doing a bit of thinking and talking with other brothers and sisters.

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It's also true that many in our fellowships feel a level of dissatisfaction with their lives, particularly in terms of the disconnect of their day-to-day activities from any sense of God's ultimate plans for the world. So a course that seeks to help them put the pieces of God's big picture together, and to think through the purpose and meaning of their lives, can be a very attractive proposition for lots of people.

For younger people, it may be that they are still trying to sort out what their faith means for their life, career, travel plans, ambitions, and dreams. For those who have been Christians for longer, perhaps they have never really grasped the radical implications of the Bible's teaching, or perhaps they did at one stage, but 20, 30, 40, even 50 plus years on, they've been pretty significantly distracted from the gospel focus they once might have had.

Certainly our experience of running the course showed that, having been told the aims of the course and what commitment it required, almost every busy person that was invited by a letter and phone call was enthusiastic to participate. And afterward they were glowing in their appreciation of what the course did for them, with comments like these...

[Coming soon]


(3) It is challenging, but it is not hard work

The content of the course—whilst potentially challenging in terms of shaking up the way people see their lives—is certainly at a level that is no more difficult to understand than the sort of Bible study material that a normal home group might use. In fact, you could even say that with the video input, it can be easier for people to go home feeling like they 'got it'.


(4) Believe in it, pray for it and 'sell' it

Often, when people say 'no' to your invitation to do the Course, it can be a sign of the very spiritual problem that the course is seeking to address. So pray that God would work in people to give them a desire to think through their faith and life with a degree of seriousness. (Of course, sometimes people say no because they are just in a particularly busy time of their life or year. Be sympathetic to that, and don't pressure them. Respect their decision, and ask them "If I were to run the course again, what time of year might be better for you?")

But having prayed, if you believe in the benefits of doing the course, 'sell' it to people, and sell it personally (i.e. talking to them individually). Invite them positively ("I really think you'd get a lot out of this course, it's going to be great") not negatively ("Look I know you're very busy, and I don't want to add to your load, but...").


At Matthias Media we'll certainly be partnering with you in the prayer that lots of people accept the challenge of a 'personal revolution', and that God will work to build his kingdom through it.

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