It’s hard to believe that it’s a year and a half since the first edition of Real Change went on sale at the Biblical Counselling UK conference in Swanwick. Born out of the need for a short, simple course that introduces people to what Scripture says about growing to be like Jesus in the sin and suffering of life, it’s proved an invaluable tool and multiple churches have used the course in the intervening months.
We’ve heard stories of churches setting aside small group leaders to work through its text, congregations where all mid-week groups have been encouraged to give the material a go, staff teams in para church organisations who have used the course to help the team members persevere and Christians who have used it as part of their one-to-one work, getting alongside those whose struggles are severe. And in the process it has been a privilege to see lives changed and hear of people wrestling with the big questions in their heart and homes.
Along the way, a number of you have given us feedback – which we’ve taken very seriously indeed – and that, combined with our personal reflections and the extraordinary wisdom of David Powlison, has contributed to the new and exciting version of Real Change which will be on sale soon. The “three trees” diagram has been tweaked to make the role of the Spirit clearer, session 4 has been rewritten to expand the reflection on our relationship with Christ, some of the examples have been moulded so they work outside of big cities and the spellings have been changed so the words work in America and beyond… And this time round, the course books all contain the Leader’s Guide so there is no need to download something separate.
What hasn’t changed is the rigorous Bible-handling and encouragement to participate in a personal change project. There are still 6 sessions and it’s still designed to serve the local church in 3 ways:
Help your church understand the biblical process of change
Most Christians know that coming to Christ is the start of a journey of faith – one that includes putting off the old self and putting on the new. Christians are people who change to be more like Jesus and that’s an exciting call. But few understand what the Bible says about that process of change and the course is, in part, to help people grasp just that.
Help your church pursue Christ-centred change
We all have our struggles and our persistent sins. Often we battle them alone. Real Change provides a context in which to start addressing them in community. It’s not a course that manipulatively forces sharing but one that provides a safe framework for pursuing Christ together and, in doing so, encourages tangible, lasting fruit to grow in our lives.
Help your church grow a culture of Christ-centred care
As we all get the hang of change – and changing together – the course encourages our congregations to continue spurring one another on to love and good works. Little by little, it helps churches develop a culture, a vocabulary that enables people to be increasingly open about their struggles, increasingly quick to take those struggles to the foot of the cross and increasingly willing to trust God in the midst of them.
Of course, it is only a framework to encourage people in their walk. We’re not promising anything like perfection this side of heaven! But we would ask you to pray with us that this new edition will be useful when it comes out next month. And we would encourage you to consider how you might use it in your local church.
Find out more about Real Change