My hope and prayer is that UTB will be used not just by individuals but by churches as well. I thought it would be worthwhile including some information about where I’m coming from, how I envision UTB being used by churches, and what kind of direction it might go in the future.
Why I created UTB
Over the past few years, by the grace of God we have seen a few people come into the church from secular backgrounds and turn to Christ. I have been involved in leading outreach and discipleship courses with them. One of the things which I’ve noticed is that many people who come to faith now have got virtually no understanding of the Christian faith or the Bible. I believe that the church needs to be intentional about teaching people the faith, rather than simply assuming people will pick things up over time through listening to sermons or even home groups.
Unfortunately, it seems to me that many churches do not do a great job of actively discipling new believers – educating them in “the pattern of sound teaching” (2 Timothy 1:13), i.e. the faith as it has been received by the church. I believe that new Christians these days need more than simply sermons on the Bible – they also need more focused systematic teaching to help them flourish and stand firm in a very secular age.
This is why I created this ministry. The first series I did (“How to grow as a Christian”) was intended to give to people who’d completed an outreach course. Everything I’ve done since then has been on similar lines.
In a nutshell, UTB is intended to be a discipleship resource to help Christians (new or old) to grow deeper in their Christian faith. It is not a replacement for church but, I hope, a helpful companion to it. As far as I know there are very few other ministries such as UTB, especially from the UK.
Where UTB is coming from
I am an ordained Anglican, and as such I am coming from a classically Anglican / Reformed perspective. (I talk a bit more about this on the basis of faith page). However, my aim is to avoid ‘party political’ denominational issues and to focus on what C.S. Lewis called Mere Christianity. Therefore I do not wish to get into contentious issues such as spiritual gifts, the exact nature of the sacraments, etc. I genuinely hope this website will be usable by Christians from many different denominations – free church, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Pentecostals, etc. (For what it’s worth – I grew up in an independent church and only came into the Anglican church later in life – so I have some experience of both!)
In short, I sincerely hope that UTB will be a resource for the whole church – not just Anglicans.
Using UTB in a church
UTB is still in its early days, and I am still working out all the details! However, I think the following would all be good ways of using UTB as part of a church:
- Using UTB as a follow-up to an outreach / discipleship course – giving people a next step which they can do on their own / one-to-one
- Using UTB as part of a small group, e.g. watching a video and then having discussion time. I am hoping to create some small group discussion questions to go along with each video.
My aim here is to produce things which are useful and relevant to the church. I have one or two ideas, but I’m sure there are plenty more I haven’t thought of – if you have a bright idea which strikes you, please do get in touch – I’d love to hear your thoughts.
At the moment future ideas include:
- An online discipleship ‘course’ which would lead people through a particular pathway (e.g. show people which video to watch next, where they were up to, etc). In a similar vein to the way that online courses work at the moment. My idea is that churches could subscribe to this and maybe customise it to their own needs.
- Discussion group materials based on the video series – e.g. a pack of questions and leaders notes for small groups.
- Sermon videos – e.g. videos which could be played in a church service if a preacher is unavailable
- Training on particular topics e.g. apologetics, preaching, etc.