Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Discipleship and its implications

Having seen what discipleship is; teaching the truth in and through the context of sharing life and having seen what its isn't just bible study or listening to bible teaching etc...  The question is how does this affect how we think of church and how we facilitate discipleship in our churches?

The church exists for the glory of God, it is where disciples meet together and are changed by the gospel of grace so that they serve and love one another by speaking the truth in love to each other.  The big question is how do we do that, how do we maximise the potential there is in gathering together as God's people to hear the word of God taught?

There are a number of questions that need to be thought through:
  • How can we set church up in such a way that time, space and priority is given to building relationships which are deep enough to become the natural context for discipleship to occur in?
  • How can we encourage people to get past small talk, which is necessary and not bad in itself, and on to significant talk?
  • How can we as leaders of the church model discipleship in the way we talk to people?  (Speed of the leader speed of the team)
  • How can we make the most of the bible teaching we receive every week?  How can we use it to speak the truth in love to one another and engage in discipling one another?
  • How will we deal with those who do not want to do this and may find such expectations uncomfortable?
We haven't got everything sorted but these questions have moulded and are moulding my thinking on church.  So we have refreshments both before and after the service so that people have time in which to do small talk, which frees up the time after the service from these questions so that people can be responding and praying together as a result of the bible teaching.  I think pastors set the tone - we ought to talk about and flag up potential exploration and application points which arise from the bible passage - maybe put 3 or 4 questions on an overhead or notice sheet for people to think through together.  And express that intention that that is what they do.  Don't let the children back in or refreshments start being served until this discipling space has happened.

We need to be continually setting the expectation that this will be happening, modelling it in our own conversations and encouraging people to get practical in their application not simply stay at a cerebral or theological level.

But what about if people don't want to engage in discipleship, won't they find church uncomfortable?  I often have to check myself when confronted with people who find such things uncomfortable because, I think in common with most people. I have a tendency towards people pleasing.  But I must not compromise on the need to be discipling and facilitating discipleship of one another at church.  Simply if you don't like it we won't change because we believe this to be fundamentally important.  Setting church up do that this relational discipling happens is a sign that we love God we love the bible and as God called us to we love our brothers.

And if this is the priority discipleship is given in church and by the churches leaders then others will see its value and be encouraged to meet in the week.

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