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From: "REVIVAL List" <prophetic@...>
Date: Fri, 25 May 2012 00:22:14 +1200
NOTE:  Lee Grady talks below about today's "free-wheeling, come-
as-you-are, pick-what-you-want, whatever-floats-your-boat" type
Christianity. This is certainly true of today's "Internet" Christianity
too. -No 'commitment' required at all. We would be interested in
your comments on this article, my friends.

-J. Lee Grady.

Reclaiming the process of discipleship will require a total overhaul
of how we do church.

I get funny looks from some charismatic Christians when I tell them
I believe God is calling us back to radical discipleship. Those in the
over-50 crowd-people who lived through the charismatic movement
of the 1970s-are likely to have a bad taste in their mouths when
it comes to the dreaded "D word."

That´s because the so-called Discipleship Movement (also known
as the Shepherding Movement) turned a vital biblical principle into
a weapon and abused people with it. Churches that embraced the
warped doctrines of shepherding required believers to get permission
from their pastors before they bought cars, got pregnant or moved
to a new city. Immature leaders became dictators, church members
became their loyal minions, and the Holy Spirit´s fire was snuffed
out because of a pervasive spirit of control.

I don´t ever want to live through that again. I know countless people
who are still licking their wounds from the spiritual abuse they
suffered while attending hyper-controlling churches in the 1970s
and `80s. Some of them still cannot trust a pastor today; others
walked away from God because leaders misused their authority-
all in the name of "discipleship."

Yet I´m still convinced that relational discipleship-a strategy
Jesus and the apostle Paul modeled for us-is as vital as ever.
If anything the pendulum has now swung dangerously in the
opposite direction. In today´s free-wheeling, come-as-you-are,
pick-what-you-want, whatever-floats-your-boat Christianity, we
make no demands and enforce no standards. We´re just happy
to get warm rumps in seats. As long as people file in and out of
the pews and we do the Sunday drill, we think we´ve accomplished

But Jesus did not command us to go therefore and attract crowds.
He called us to make disciples (see Matt. 28:19), and that cannot
be done exclusively in once-a-week meetings, no matter how
many times the preacher can get the people to shout or wave
handkerchiefs. If we don´t take immature Christians through a
discipleship process (which is best done in small groups or one-
on-one gatherings), people will end up in a perpetual state of immaturity.

David Kinnaman, author of the excellent book unChristian, articulated
the problem this way: "Most people in America, when they are
exposed to the Christian faith, are not being transformed. They take
one step into the door, and the journey ends. They are not being
allowed, encouraged, or equipped to love or to think like Christ.
Yet in many ways a focus on spiritual formation fits what a new
generation is really seeking. Transformation is a process, a journey,
not a one-time decision."

Reclaiming this process of discipleship is going to require a total
overhaul of how we do church. Do we really want to produce mature
disciples who have the character of Jesus and are able to do His
works? Or are we content with shallow believers and shallow faith?

A friend of mine had to face this question while he was pastoring in
Florida. As a young father, he had a habit of putting his infant son
in a car seat and driving him around his neighborhood at night in
order to lull him to sleep. Once during this ritual the Holy Spirit
spoke to this pastor rather bluntly. He said: "This is what you are
doing in your church. You are just driving babies around."

My friend came under conviction. He realized he had fallen into
the trap of entertaining his congregation with events and programs,
even though the people were not growing spiritually. He was actually
content to keep them in infancy. As long as they filled their seats
each Sunday, and paid their tithes, he was happy. Yet no one was
growing, and they certainly were not producing fruit by reaching
others for Christ.

How can we make this paradigm shift in to discipleship? How can
we add "the D word" back into our vocabulary?

-Churches must stop exclusively focusing on big events and get
people involved in small groups, where personal ministry can take place.
-We must stop treating people like numbers and get back to valuing
-Leaders must reject the celebrity preacher model and start investing
their lives in individuals.

When we stand before Christ and He evaluates our ministries, He
will not be asking us how many people sat in our pews, watched
our TV programs, gave in our telethons or filled out response cards.
He is not going to evaluate us based on how many people fell under
the power of God or how many healings we counted in each service.
He will ask how many faithful disciples we made. I pray we will
make this our priority.

-Please comment on this topic at the following website-


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