Are We a Disciple-making Church?
On Friday last some of us attended the second gathering of the Disciple Makers Network in PCI Assembly Buildings (Church House). This network includes a range of PCI congregations exploring how better to be disciple-making congregations and a disciple-making denomination.
At core we are looking at 5 "shifts" outting discipleship at the heart of who we are:
1. From an Extra Thing to the Key Thing
2. From Distance and Education to Proximity and Lifestyle
3. From an Inward Process to an Outward Focus
4. From Gathered Saints to Scattered Servants
5. From Getting Bigger to Growing Deeper
This is very much part of a process in which we think, plan, prayand encourage one another in our very different contexts. The journey so far has been challenging and informative. We have a long way to go before being able to share any firm conclusions. However, let me give you a few key phrases that have certainly got me thinking.
Jesus is NOT the genius with the thousand helpers: The record of the Gospels show that Jesus not only spoke about the change but He lived the change. His disciples saw Him modelling the lifestyle and the rhythm of devotion. After He left them it is clear from the account in Acts that the disciples and the early church sought to emulate Christ. Paul's teaching is full of that. So if we are following in His footsteps we need to be modelling, nurturing, providing examples for others.
Do we see ourselves as VOLUNTEERS or DISCIPLES?: So often we see our church work as simply filling gaps and doing things because someone has to. In this "volunteer" mindset we thing we are doing something laudable and worthy of the admiration of others. However, if we are serving in the work of the church in activities and programmes intended to extend His Kingdom we are then surely DISCIPLES. Discipleship is for all Christ followers - not just an enthusiastic few. Being a disciple should be attractive and adventerous - not comfortable and convenient.
How then do we see ourselves in the church, in this congregation? VOLUNTEER or DISCIPLE?