One of the biggest mistakes we make when talking with others about faith, whether in evangelism or preaching and teaching Scripture, is that we assume we’re all talking about the same thing when we say “God.”
“Why do I spend all this time on these sermons if people forget almost everything I say by the time they’re halfway home?!? Sermons are so ineffective!”
Jared was a little worked up. He’s a pastor, and he was realizing that what he put the most ministry effort into (his sermons) was bearing very little tangible fruit in the lives of the people of his congregation.
A couple summers ago, Mark Zuckerberg suggested that Facebook could replace the church. He argued that his technology platform could create a sense of community the face of falling church membership.
Christian leaders, predictably, objected to this idea, but Skye Jethani responded to the hulabaloo with a thread of messages on Twitter that highlight a subtle problem with these objections: much of the church is just as enamored with the “dis-incarnation” of technology as Zuckerberg is.
One of the notions a lot of us hold somewhat unconsciously is that God’s commands are mainly about getting us to behave better. We think God has set up some rules and he’ll reward us if we follow them.
Most people have the wrong idea about the “cost of discipleship.”
When Bonhoeffer first coined the phrase, it was a helpful corrective to a very nominalistic faith. But nowadays the phrase “cost of discipleship” stirs up images of spiritual heroes: those who’ve heeded the call and have become a special elite kind of Christian. The Few. The Proud. The Disciples.
In the past couple decades or so, lots of churches have begun to focus on discipleship. There’s a recognition that we’ve largely assumed that if we simply focused on church growth, discipleship would just sort of… happen. We are realizing we’ve neglected Jesus’ explicit commission to “go and make disciples.”
And this renewed focus on discipleship is a good thing! But in our work with leaders, we’ve noticed that many churches dive straight into the work of developing a plan for discipleship without first articulating clearly WHY they’re doing this in the first place. The result is a whole lot of confusion and very little movement. [Read more…] about Why Would Anyone Want to Be a Disciple of Jesus?