I have been reading about what seems to be discipleship. By discipleship I don’t mean a process of strategic growth or a 12 step program to becoming like Christ in 90 days or less. By discipleship, I mean allowing God to transform us into “mature followers” of Jesus, who live like Jesus, and who care about what Jesus cared about (candidly I’m still confused about what a mature follower really looks like, but I am convinced that no person, generation, or contemporary discipleship book gives us a full picture).
Interestingly enough, college students are prompting most of my reading--Books like Crazy Love, Radical, Not a Fan, and to make matters more challenging even a book on financial development for non-profits entitled Coach Your Champions tell me I am not just called to help train and grow college students, but I am also called to help train and grow donors who just want to write a check to Soma, or just do their small part, so they can feel good.
All of this really prompted me to think about the way the church represents Jesus to the larger world. You might know that David Platt received criticism recently at the Southern Baptist Convention for speaking out about the spiritual shallowness of the sinner’s prayer:
"I'm convinced many people in our churches are just simply missing the life of Christ and a lot of it has to do with what we've sold them as the Gospel, i.e. 'pray this prayer, accept Jesus into your heart, invite Christ into your life,'" he said. "It's modern evangelism built on sinking sand and it runs the risk of disillusioning millions of souls."
This modern evangelism, while effective in dealing with mass groups of people all at once, seems to be distant from the Gospel that Jesus and the apostles taught. Kyle Idleman writes in his book Not a Fan,
“The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren’t actually interested in following Christ. They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires anything from them...” He continues, “There is no way to follow Jesus without him interfering with your life. Following Jesus will cost you something. Following Jesus always costs something.”
And before we hear the word "cost" and think we are talking about money, in the book Coach Your Champions, Eric Foley boldly asserts that Christians all over the USA think they are doing the work of God by writing a check, often escaping any transformative work on who they are as followers of Christ, and what they are responsible to do. He writes concerning leading a non-profit,
“The real transformation happened when we stopped putting donors in categories by the size of check they write, and started categorizing them by their level of involvement with the cause...”
So as I think about the church as it moves forward and tries to reach new people and a generation who thinks that church is just another institution of which to marginally belong, I want to be completely authentic and share my concerns:
I want to share thoughts, insights, and scriptures that lead us in the direction of Christ.