Thursday, January 04, 2007

Taking the Weight Off

No, not another new year’s diet. This is about how we as a local church participate in the mission given by Christ to make disciples.

As I and others have wrestled with issues of fruit and faith, we have been forced to acknowledge a lack of both. And in that acknowledgement, we have been forced to go back to the Bible, and to ask what is involved in being faithful so as to develop fruitful disciples.

Our Sunday worship has been, by default, the primary component in our efforts to “make disciples.” It is not working. And I conclude that God never meant for it to work. The worship gathering is important, even essential; but the worship gathering is not sufficient to accomplish the work of disciple-making all by itself.

You and I need to cease expecting the worship gathering to “carry all the weight” of our spiritual growth. The worship gathering, and the ministry of the Word that takes place in these gatherings, in no way completes this week’s lesson. It actually only begins this week’s spiritual exercise.

How did we get here, to this condition of an out-of-proportion discipleship? There are probably many reasons. It’s partly the pastor’s fault, since Sunday is the focal point of his preparation. While that is true, and right, there is more to making disciples than this. Maybe it’s partly the deacons’ fault, for not leading into neglected areas of discipleship. And maybe it is partly the congregation’s fault, content to do what is easiest (sit) and feel congratulated for it. Nonetheless, discipleship demands that we distribute the weight of our energies to all that is needed for growth.

1 comment:

Steve Stairs said...

May it is time that I learned a new way of communicating too. Sounds like you are continuing to think and ponder the issue of how we can structure church to do a better job of reinforcing both individual and corporate spiritual disciplines so that they are mutually reinforcing rather than destructive to one another. Maybe it would help to take one discipline like prayer and tease out what could be done to encourage and develop its use in the life of the individual and the life of the church.