“The Christian church in America is comprised of many converts, but shockingly few disciples,” according to Barna Group Research. The research goes on to point out that “less than 1 percent of all believers perceived a connection between their efforts to worship God and their development as a disciple of Jesus.”
Some say part of the response to this is to move from program-driven churches to disciple-making churches. How do we do that without making another program out of discipleship?
[comments imported from my Radio blog]
My guess is to slowly extinuish our educational models and try an intentional experiential live that is lived out in discipleship. A lot easier than said. This may be the intent on church plants that arise in the future and even now. But we should pray for the Holy Spirit to engage us toward our true and only allegiance, Jesus. Check out the Ekklesia Project on the web.
Clark Christian • 8/18/04; 10:19:00 AM #
Perhaps as long as we approach discipleship as another task to do, then we will programize it and end up not finding the discipleship we were seeking. Analyzing the problem and strategizing about solutions will inevitably lead to programmatic answers. The process is human-centered and will lead to human-centered ends . . . which isn’t discipleship! The same thing happens when modern churches adopt a new model of doing church to supposedly become less modern. It can’t happen that way.
The paradox is that the more one tries to figure out HOW to be a disciple through methodologies, the less one will be a disciple. Discipleship is walking along a path that is God-directed without trying to figure out where it goes. It is not deciding on a destination and then strategizing on how to get there.
Greg Newton • 8/19/04; 8:54:46 AM #
I wonder if we can define the difference between nominal Christians and disciples?
I tend to think of the former group as just ‘growing up in the church’ a product of systematic tradition or a recent ‘convert’ who is swallowed up into a cold mechanical system and doesn’t know that there are living churches out there.
The later group (maybe I’m over simplifying) falls head over heals in love with Jesus. They fully accept His love, and therefore stop hating themselves and their neighbors. They have probably been broken, and in their brokeness have become humble (teachable).
Carlos Aleman • 8/19/04; 12:47:23 PM #
I couldn’t agree more with the assertion that discipleship cannot be programmed into the church’s weekly schedule. To borrow an old phrase, discipleship is more caught than taught. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be intentional about our discipleship efforts. We ought to think about how our programs can support discipleship, but this is different than thinking our programs are the best means by which we nurture disciples. We just need to broaden our horizons and think outside the box. With all of our emphasis on church programming, we have somehow convinced ourselves that adequate spiritual growth can take place 2 or 3 hours on Sundays and an hour on Wednesday night. Most of this time we are sitting in large groups facing forward listening to one man we pay to do our Bible study for us! In reality, we learn how to be disciples of Christ by living life as a community of disciples. We do it by community reflection and Bible study, and we do it by lots of time together- serving, laughing, crying, loving, playing, singing, and praying together!
Danny Freeman • 8/19/04; 12:52:29 PM #