This picture sums up how many Christians function. I would never broad stroke and say ALL Christians because that simply isn’t true. Many though lack basic discipleship in their life to understand how God works. When life’s struggles come and people are faced with a monumental task, diagnosis or even day to day living…it is evident scripture is used out of context often. This happens each Sunday when many pastors deliver a sermon. I certainly have been guilty of using scripture out of context. I think back to some of the messages I gave as a youth pastor or even my early days as a pastor and cringe.
I am not going to get into a discussion how we should rightly divide the word of God but I would like to expound on a couple of topics in regards to scripture. Something that I feel is severely lacking today is discipleship. Discipleship in it’s most slimmed down definition is teaching biblical precepts, while modeling and guiding others toward living righteously as followers of Jesus Christ. Perhaps that is why I love one of the core values of the church I pastor. That specific core value says “caring relationships are the best context for true discipleship.” This might also be the reason I am not a fan of boxed discipleship studies. It’s because discipleship is not effective unless it is coupled with mentorship.
A question I am asked often is if we have life groups at our church. My answer is usually no. We have tried it again and again in the past to no avail. Either the host family runs out of zeal for it or quite honestly, it’s difficult to find a discipleship in a box curriculum. What I believe to be far better discipleship is when a person or group of people come with me to serve with our outreach ministry. Perhaps our men’s ministry where we simply get together for a meal and enjoy conversation with a group of guys that in a heart beat would do anything for anyone is more effective than watching a DVD. We have conversations pertaining to the Christian life but we also put it into action through serving and showing how to live the life of a Christian.
Unfortunately, Christendom is infatuated with speakers that are polished (externally), etc. Many are not into being taught discipleship from someone who is doing their best regardless of kids being crazy and not fitting the “norm”. To quote my friend Pastor Bob Beeman "It is such a balance that people don't understand. When we think of discipleship, we think of sitting in a boring classroom tolerating a curriculum that everyone hates. But when you couple it with real life situations and relationships, then it becomes relational."
Perhaps more on this in the future.