Foundations21: The new way to do discipleship?

Paul Simmonds

What is Foundations21?

~**an innovative web-based Christian discipleship course*~~*for new and experienced Christians, giving them access to a wealth of information and resources.*~~*links them via the Internet to others who will support them on their discipleship journey.*~~*recognises that people prefer to learn in quite different ways according to the type of person they are, and offers four different pathways through the material.*~~*is known by its website:**~


A new way to do discipleship?L~

‘One of the great needs for the contemporary British Church is to find ways to make adult disciples …’ (Mark Greene – Director of LICC).


Although Christian initiation courses are thriving, many churches are struggling to help new Christians to grow in their faith, and to make a practical difference in their lives and across the nation. Many churches are looking to find a workable approach that captures the imagination, drive and enthusiasm of established Christians ready to do something with their lives for God.


Why use the web?L~

More and more of us now use the web – to book our holidays, look up information, or simply find out when our favourite TV programme is on. Then there is e-mail which enables us to communicate, and to ‘stay connected’ with people wherever they may be across the world.


Once someone has used the web in their learning there is no turning back to a purely paper-based approach. Connected to the Internet, the student can access a world of people, stories and information via text, pictures, diagrams, video, music and talks. Most importantly they can interact with the material, and with other learners, whenever and wherever they want.


As a web-based discipleship course, Foundations21 can deliver to Christians, in their homes and in their own time, spiritual insight, biblical information and useful interaction with others. This ‘blended’ learning approach uses a variety of media to deliver the message. So Foundations21 is not an electronic version of a paper course. It combines group and individual Christian nurture, using a variety of media for life-long learning.


Why four different pathways through Foundations21?L~

People learn in different ways. The existence of the four Gospels eloquently reminds us that there are at least four ways of engaging with the Christian story. Recent studies indicate that there is a correlation between the four main personality types and the learning styles of the four Gospels. Foundations21 imaginatively offers four pathways through the material that reflect those four learning styles contained within the Gospels.


For example, pragmatic people who like order and tradition may be drawn to the Matthew pathway. More activist types may like the Mark pathway, which reflects the brevity and immediacy of his Gospel. There will be those who enjoy the reflective journey through Luke-Acts, with its focus on people and events, travelling with Luke as their personal discipleship guide. Still others will be drawn to the John pathway, appreciating the signs behind his theories, imagination and profoundness.


While these pathways sometimes overlap, they are sufficiently distinct that they provide the Foundations21 learner with an approach that suits their temperament, personality and learning style. The different approaches offered within Foundations21 reaffirms the biblical principle of diversity – one body, many members.


Discipleship pathwaysL~

As users follow paths within each gallery room they will also visit - through video clips - interactive assignments and online Bible study. Users have their progress recorded for them as they travel along the way. A Spiritual Journal provides a permanent record of their journey of faith.


In their group they will be able to learn together, as they exchange discoveries, not only of Christian knowledge, but also of prayer, values and practical life skills. Foundations21 is about learning for life rather than simply for church!


How would a church or circuit use Foundations21?L~

Foundations21 offers any local church a flexible way to establish an on-going discipleship programme for new Christians or those wanting to learn more or perhaps offer for leadership.


You could begin with a small group of users, each user choosing their own pathway and working at their own pace over the subsequent twelve or eighteen months. As a small group they would meet monthly to learn and grow together. Mentors, appointed from within the church or in the area, communicate via mainly by e-mail as well as more conventional methods and pray and support the person they are mentoring.


If you are interested in how this project might help your church or someone you know, go to for a fuller explanation and order your free DVD.

Headline Summer 2006 pp14 & 19