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'It's all about knowing the truth"

Growing In Circles - learning the rhythms of discipleship by Paul Harcourt

Growing in CirclesGrowing In Circles: learning the rhythms of discipleship
By Paul Harcourt
River Publishing
ISBN 978-1-908393-63-0
Reviewed by Shaun Lambert

Paul Harcourt is the Vicar at All Saints Woodford Wells in North East London, and has just been appointed National Director of New Wine from October 2016. In his new book Growing In Circles he makes the absolutely crucial point that Christian discipleship is not about going from one new thing to the next, but growing deeper in fundamental rhythms, practices and insights. The end goal is of course to grow into the image, likeness and imitation of Christ.
This is not done passively but through active co-operation with the Holy Spirit. The book is built on helpful charismatic theology that we can imitate Christ in the things of the kingdom, because Jesus modelled them for us through his humanity in the power of the Holy Spirit.
The book is full of helpful stories from his own life, including a testimony that encouraged me as a father, namely that university was a time of great transformation in his faith, rather than a time of moving away from God. The book is built on tried and tested teaching, both in his own church, but also as part of his wider New Wine ministry.
Who should read this book? I would say it is for Christians looking for a useful primer into developing a deeper discipleship, as well as those who need to refresh their discipleship.
It is built on intimacy with Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit, modelled on the way Jesus called His disciples ‘to be with him.’ There are key ideas (the growing circles) that are interconnected, and build on each other like foundation stones. These are the marks of a healthy disciple: intimacy, affirmation, identity, authority, destiny, and obedience. Intimacy leads to affirmation, and affirmation leads to a sense of identity and so on. This is especially helpful as so many Christians struggle with a sense of affirmation and identity.
Paul writes in the way he talks, in a warm, engaging and relational way. This is an encouraging and positive read that could also be used in small groups. If I was to summarise the book in one sentence, and drawing it from Paul’s thoughts himself – I would say it is all about ‘knowing the truth – it is as we get to know the truth that we are set free.’

Shaun Lambert is an author and minister of Stanmore Baptist Church




Baptist Times, 24/11/2016
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