Here’s the scoop, everyone.
By the time you read this, I’ll be far away from home on vacation. When I return home, I’ll wash my clothes and head down to Mexico for a week with Adventures in Missions.
So over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be doing a little bit on Facebook and Twitter, and posting a comment or two, but I won’t be making regular posts (save for an interlude between vacation and Mexico).
But not to worry! I’ve lined up some amazing guest bloggers to keep you company, and I’ll be reposting some of my best content from the last year.
To show you that I’m serious about having great guest bloggers, I’m kicking things off with a guest post from Nicole Cottrell, whose blog, Modern Reject, has so much guts and grit, it could beat up my blog if it wanted to. If you don’t already read her blog, just start punching yourself in the face right now. Be sure to show Nicole some love here and then go check out her blog.
What’s Wrong With This Picture?
If you were to stop the average Christian on the street and ask them what they would change about the American Church, they could most likely rattle off a few answers with little hesitation.
Some people might say that the Church fails in the area of social justice, (a term which, by the way, drives me crazy. How about we just call it “injustice?”) Another person might feel that we neglect the poor, or that we fail in how we address homosexuality. Heck, another person might believe that the Church has simply failed to remain relevant in their eyes.
But, if you ask me, which maybe you aren’t, but I’m gonna tell you anyway, I suspect that many of the church’s failings we can easily rattle off can be resolved with just one word…
The word “disciple” and “discipleship” is thrown around casually within the Church. But it’s rarely understood, let alone practiced.
Christ knew, as He was separting from our physical presence, that the best vehicle with which to reach men was to disciple them. Considering the call to make disciples was the last thing Jesus told us, you would also think we would take the call more seriously.
Problems arise, however, when we realize most Christians, as well as churches and ministries, have wildly varying definitions of the word discipleship. Likewise, the majority of Christians have never actually been discipled, so how could they fully grasp the concept, or better yet, replicate it?
You Are Not Important
Robert E. Coleman, writes in his book, The Master Plan of Evangelism, that “men were Jesus’ method.” Jesus chose a few select men with whom to live life, teach, and equip, while still enabling Him to complete His ministry.
The Church today, however, often fails to focus on a few, but rather the masses. In an attempt to grow churches, gain numbers, and produce converts, the individual is neglected in favor of the corporate.
Jesus’ choice in discipleship was not a church program or a checklist. He had things in mind that He desired to teach, absolutely. His allowed these men to simply live life alongside Him. They were able to observe, ask questions, participate, and wrestle with His deity.
No Experience Required
How would real discipleship resolve our personal gripes and hang-ups with the Church?
Well, for starters each believer would be accountable, equipped, and trained to do ministry. Wrap your head around that for a second. Individuals would be able to confidently share their faith. Boom. Evangelism. No one would be required to hold a seminary degree in order to preach, teach, shepherd, or lead.
The hungry would be fed, the poor cared for, the forgotten remembered because the process of discipleship encourages Christians to do His work for His Kingdom now. Individuals would feel competent, capable, and compelled to share their discipling experience with others, thus continuing the process.
That, I believe, is what Christ had in mind, using men to continue His ministry, men who would disciple other men, in the same intentional and powerful way He had done…and nothing less. That is also why I believe that discipleship, when practiced like Christ instructed, can and would help turn all of our gripes, complaints, and hang-ups about the Church into solutions and resolutions, no more complaining, only action.
Let’s hear it. What is your biggest gripe against the Church? What’s the solution? How would you define discipleship, and why do you think the church isn’t doing it?