One way to talk about discipleship to Jesus is to boil it down to “hearing and doing.” At its core, it’s paying attention to what Jesus is saying to you, and then putting that into practice in your actual life (as he makes clear in the Sermon on the Mount).
This past summer, 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.
“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.
Do you struggle with prayer? I sure do. I remember in high school when I first read Paul’s instructions to the church in Thessalonica:
Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess 5:16-18).
I could get my head around rejoicing “always” and giving thanks in all circumstances (these seemed like attitudes I could carry with me), but what in the world would it mean to pray continually?
Have you ever noticed that some people seem to be wired up to help people understand things? They seem to have an uncanny ability to make things simple and give away knowledge. They’re also generally concerned with logic, order, process, and development.
In our churches, they typically are found looking for ways to help others understand and live out Scripture. In the “fivefold gifting” framework, these are the teachers among us. But, like the other types, their gifting can be present in immature form. For teachers, this means they can become “cerebral” Christians, elevating information above practice.