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?
I find it remarkable that when Jesus was calling his first disciples in the Gospel of John, he didn’t give them a theological quiz or a behavior audit.
He didn’t inquire as to whether they believed the right facts or practiced the right behaviors. Instead, he asked them a subversively disarming question: “What do you want?“
A few years ago, when I was the lead pastor of a church I had planted, I found myself in the middle of a minor conflict with some of the people who had planted the church with me. They were expressing concern and questions about the direction the church was moving.
When I first started trying to live on mission, I didn’t know what the heck I was doing. All I knew was that my imagination had been captured by a bigger vision for what life, faith, and ministry could be.