In the christian world right now the buzz words are #discipleship #churchplanting #makedisciples and I hope it is not a fad but in the latest post I read by Ed Stetzer called You Mass Produce Cars, not disciples it’s yet another attempt at clobbering clergy, proposing a vague “small group” solution, and regurgitating leadership development mantras of the 1980s and 1990s.
We need deliberate discipleship, but no one seems to be clear on what that is and what that isn’t.
No one seems to have put forth a model that is repeatable and when one is put forward it could be seen as the same thing everyone is saying, so here is yet another attempt at clarifying what discipleship is and what it is missing.
It seems that in order to address the problem we need to know what the problem is.
Many “disciples of Christ” aren’t really that excited about experiencing God for themselves thru his word (core part of being a disciple) and don’t actively help others in the process of seeing God thru his word (discipleship).
This seems dangerous to me.
What it is:
Deliberate discipleship is trying to solve this…by creating small groups (as Ed Stetzer said) centered around the text (not sermon based but text based discussions) that start with clergy (inside out) investing in leaders (law of the lid not leadership development) who, once those leaders see Jesus cannot help but share about him with others (evangelism thru life change not curriculum propagation).
There are blog posts to be had about each of those points but I will try to keep it short…
1. The Context: small groups
Yep, Im with Ed. Life change happens in small group settings. This is the primary vehicle God uses in our spritual transformation process….relationships (friendships).
2. The Content: Scripture
We could read a bunch of other crap by people telling us their thoughts about scripture, or we can help people read the bible for themselves.
This is the primary way God has chosen to reveal himself to the word…God wrote a book!
Pursuing God thru Scripture could feel overwhelming. It may seem like i don’t have the right answer if I have bible answer man in my small group. It may feel like its just way to hard. Or since I have never really seen anyone that excited about it, why would I think God is all that interesting?
3. Inside out Philosophy
De-clergification is not helpful in the growth of discipleship. However, the elders and church must have clear understandingof what they are asking of pastors.
The reality is they won’t….so pastors need to communicate a clear understanding of what they are bringing to the church and what are the important ways they will be spending their time and how they won’t be spending their time.
4. Investing in Leaders…not leadership development.
yes Paul said entrust to faithful men…it seems we try to create leaders rather than find leaders and help them love Jesus more…invest in the right people no matter what hand you have been dealt.
5. The Cause…Evangelism bubbles up and overflows, not forced and prodded
If you have chosen the right leaders…multiplication will happen, if its not you either arent as good of a leader as you think you are, Jesus isn’t as interesting as we claim him to be, or the people you chose arent faithful men who are able to pass what they learned on.
Stop blaming the people and take responsible for who you have chosen and how you lead.
There is one thing in being able to identify it and another to attack it in an unwavering way…clergy therefore keeps pursuing more of Jesus through his word for themselves and if it changes our lives, we cant help but want more to have it.