But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33
I say to people all the time, “The church is born with a Womb.” That is maybe a strange way to put it, but in my experience, churches rarely conceptualize themselves as church planting movements. Church plants and planters are courageous types, forging new territory for mission, reaching people that more historical churches cannot. That said, church planting usually is seen as a single act, planting a single church, rather than preparing from the very beginning to be a missionary movement. I have always believed that we don’t see movement because we fail to see ourselves rightly. When we planted Immanuel 3 ½ years ago, we framed into the very DNA of our being not only the need but also the priority to multiply. And, not just disciples, but discipling communities (btw – IMHO, this is a critically significant aspect of discipleship). Discipling is a communal venture. Our hope and intention, at Immanuel (the plant that I help lead) is to not only be a presence of shalom in the West Central neighborhood of Spokane but that that shalom would be extended to other neighborhoods in our city, regions and even countries. We are purposely shaping our priorities to live into God’s dream of multiplication.
I have been fiddling around with the premise that
life transformation requires a genuine encounter with Christ.
I know, you’re
thinking, “duh!” Everyone knows that. The reality, however, is much of what the
church proffers as the best of discipleship practices are built around the
concept that if we educate people enough, they will experience
transformation. It is the “educate people unto obedience” maxim. It
was the mantra of the movement that I came out of. I can hear in the back
of my head right now the founder’s foundational cliché, “Just teach the Word.”
The upshot of that was, the community of faith essentially became a teaching
center. Of course, in these communities, many other things took place –
mission, small groups, and member care – but, the main show was the Pastor
giving a sermon. It is like that cog of an entire week was built around a 30-45
min dispensement of God stuff from the professional. Sorry, I am letting
my cynicism loose a bit, but this approach almost enshrined the local pastor as
a localized protestant pope. The mentality entrusted almost an “ex
cathedra” type authority because “he” was the purveyor of truth from God’s
Word. He had special status.
What is discipleship? What are the foundational ideas you hold concerning discipleship? How do people become more like Jesus in real time.