If we want to hear, we need to listen…..

We can get into the discipleship cycle at any point, but if we want to start from a reliable place, listening to God using the Bible is the easiest place to start.

It’s not simply a question of listening for the sake of it: listening to God helps nurture our relationship with him and encourages our awareness of being a part of fulfilling his purposes wherever he has placed us.

We all need to regularly create enough space to ensure that we have opportunity to tune into God’s words. For me this means ensuring there’s enough space in my diary on a regular basis to read or listen to scripture. I’m not proposing everyone literally writes something in their diary, although I’ve worked with many people for whom that really helps them make sure it happens. The point is that if any of us are going to maintain doing anything, we need to ensure there’s space for it to happen. Otherwise everything else which pops up or just needs attending to takes over. For me, this means a chunk of time every day Monday to Friday when I can read and reflect on what I’m reading, plus a further weekly space when I can reflect on what I’m hearing from having listened to everything that went on during the previous week.

Once we’ve established a rhythm for time with the Bible and we’re reading it, the next step is to identify what words in particular we need to pay attention to. I write down the words which grab my attention on a page in my note book, or more often on my i-pad, under the banner heading ‘listening’. More often than not this will be a word, phrase, or verse(s) from the Bible passages I’ve read or been listening to (either my audio Bible I listen to in the car, or from someone speaking), which have grabbed my attention for whatever reason (and often none I’m aware of at that point). I also add in here during the week anything else I just wonder about as God uses various means to grab my attention. Once a week (I try to keep to the same day) I review what I’ve collected under this heading with a view to pursuing at least one a stage further around the discipleship cycle.

We then need to create space to reflect on what God might be speaking into our lives on a weekly basis. In an ideal world we’d all be doing this on a daily basis. Personally speaking, I’ve not yet entered that world, so a weekly commitment when I know I’ll have more time than my often times more read-on-the-run approach, is something I can fulfil regularly. However, it does require both the will to do so (hence the diary entry, whether that’s purely a mental commitment or written down) and a plan.

Before moving on we should all make sure that we can answer the following three questions. I’m convinced God is speaking to us all regularly, although I’ve met countless Christians who never seem really sure what he’s saying to them. I can guarantee, if you’re prepared to answer and act on these three questions you’ll grow in confidence that God is speaking into your life, so why not start right here, right now?

  1. Do I have a plan which addresses both what and when I’ll be reading or listening to scripture?


  1. Am I committed to writing down which words in particular are grabbing my attention?


  1. Am I making sure I have sufficient time and space, at least a weekly in my life, to reflect on any next steps?


Are you ready to give it a go? Click on this link and you’ll find our ‘Dwelling in Daniel with the discipleship cycle’ series to get you started.


If you’d like a discipleship coaster to help you round the discipleship cycle,

get in touch with Alex Drew.



Nigel Coles

Nigel is Regional Team Leader of the West of England Baptist Network. He facilitates the life of the webnet team and oversees the missional strategy for the region. He also works to develop missional strategy over a wider geographical area with our partner Associations and Baptists Together. Nigel believes that when Jesus sent out seventy-two others, he meant everyone who was there, and this passion to help everyone find their way in the mission of God is what inspired the development of Seventy-two.