Crash Course Discipleship – Mark Irwin

Crash-course – ‘a fast intensive training in or study of a subject, esp. on the basics

There’s a crash course for everything these days. There’s a crash course in driving lessons, cooking, pottery and according to Metallica, a crash course in brain surgery. Is it just me or does the thought of a quick run through something sound so appealing? If there’s a quick and easy way through something – I’ll probably find it.

I spent many years away from Church and never picked up a Bible in that time so I felt I had to give myself a refresher on all aspects of my faith as well as learning new things. I’ve never been the studious sort. I mean my knowledge on some parts of Christianity isn’t the worst… but if you ask me when Easter is I’d have to Google it.

So why did I take Accelerate? It’s not a crash course by any means, and it’s not exactly easy either, so why did I take it…? To describe it in a word, ‘Discipleship’. I want discipleship; because my soul craves Jesus.

Jesus said it best in Matthew 16:24, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me”. I’d like to address the first part of that statement. I must deny myself. I’m certainly having to deny myself…I’ve had to deny myself greatly just to type up this blog…in fact I’m a little wound up writing it to be honest. So yeah there is a big denial of myself involved in taking a course of any sort.

The second part of the statement saying we must follow Jesus. This is where it got obscure for me. I wasn’t doing anything else this year and got rejected from the two college courses I applied for which I hoped at least one would have been my calling. So much for ‘no formal qualifications required’. After much deliberation, and in the 13th hour I made an attempt to put the Kingdom first as I saw it anyway, and applied for the course. I never heard any voices calling me to do this course. Maybe even Jesus thought I’d be a nightmare to teach.

Anyway I made the choice to do it, seeking the things of the Kingdom can surely be a good thing! As well as gaining a more rounded knowledge of the Bible, Accelerate has forced me to be more organised. I now have to use calendars and reminders to plan out my weeks ahead. I used to be the sort of guy that if I had to meet more than 3 people in a week I got stressed. I had to remember everything, who I’m meeting and where etc. Not anymore. Calendar app has been completed. There’s Biblical learning and practical teaching, and something in-between. It’s not always been easy. Some days I’m tired from work and walking up to Church afterwards for Accelerate related stuff hasn’t always been thought well of at the time, however God always shows up and lifts my soul.

I never felt called to the course. I just made the decision to do this. For those thinking of taking Accelerate in the future, don’t look to me to convince you. That choice is all yours and you’ll have your own reasons to do or not. Though, if you decide to go for it, God will be right there with you as He was and is for me.

Mark Irwin
C7 Accelerate Year 1 Student

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