So what are we producing, if not disciples? Judging from many things I have seen and read over the past couple years, it seems like we a producing angry people. Angry because they feel like they've been deceived. Some of them have been promised a changed life, but instead were taught Christian doctrines and precepts. We've produced Apathetic people. Apathetic to the gospel, to the Church, and even to Jesus. We've produced people with false-security. These people went to all the classes, they attended all the services, and followed all the rules, little do they know that these actions won’t save them. There are probably other types of people that we have produced but I think Jesus had a phrase that best sums up these false-disciples, "White Washed Tombs". On the outside, they look brilliant, pure, and white… but on the inside, they are filled with death.
Who are our disciples? Our disciples are the people who truly follow us… and hopefully watch us truly follow Jesus. Jesus did not force people to follow him, he did not even try to prevent people from leaving him, his disciples were those who recognized him as savior and could do nothing but follow. Basically, Jesus shared his life with everyone, those who shared it back were his disciples.
This goes along with a post that Jon at The Theos Project put up over the weekend.
My struggle is that I see all of Christianity as a fad, commercialized, consumer- and market-driven. To say "I am a Christian" is not to say that one identifies with Christ, but that one identifies with some form of a hyper-commercialized movement.
This explains, in part, the fact that the church has such a difficult time retaining those who are passionate about changing the world, have a heart for joining believers in open/authentic community, and have intelligent minds that desire to challenge status quo thinking. These are three key types of people that seem to be lacking in most church institutions. Most institutions tend to prefer organizing around static beliefs/practices rather than letting dynamic people loose to affect genuine change.
Not much I can add to either of them...but then I ran across this post over at Out of Ur:
Economists are asking what would happen if we built our economy on production, savings, and manufacturing rather than spending and debt. Pastors should be asking what would happen if we built our mission on people’s core time rather than leisure time. What if we could tap into the 80+ hours people spend every week on the job, with their families, and engaging in life’s ordinary responsibilities? Of course, this would require a fundamental shift in the way we think about mission and institution. Here are a few implications:
1.It would mean helping people see the missional dignity of ordinary work; communicating that their jobs matter to Christ and his kingdom, not just what happens within the walls of the church.
2.It would mean elevating the role of family and household relationships as vehicles for spiritual growth and missional engagement. Yes, raising children and caring for aging parents honors God and advances his kingdom just as, if not more, than institutional church programs.
3.It would mean not extracting people from their lives and communities to engage in church programming or committees unless absolutely necessary, but equipping them to live in communion with Christ within the context he has placed them.
4.It would shift the focus of Sunday worship away from mission and outreach to a time of celebration and encouragement for Christians who are engaged in mission the other six days of the week.
5.It would mean deploying church leaders outside the institution to engage members in their native contexts; mentoring and coaching on their turf rather than ours.
6.It would mean a radical adjustment in what the church celebrates-not institutional expansion or programmatic growth, but stories of ordinary people incarnating Christ at home, at work, at school…everywhere life happens.
Wow! You mean having the church function as a church? Too radical! Maybe this recession/depression is from God? Nah! Can't be, after all, God exists only to satisfy my selfish wants and desires, right? Right? What is that noise I hear? Oh, just the sound of 2000 years of saints who gave their life to God and let HIM set the agenda and live through them. Maybe american christianity isn't as Christian as we think?