Driscoll’s Great Commission Magic Act

30 04 2009

I’ve recently written how many current Christian leaders I highly respect seem to be replacing the Great Commission mandate to make disciples with church planting.  But why replace the mission when you can just simply slip it right in?  This sleight of hand was performed by Mark Driscoll (ht – Colin) in his latest blog post where he wrote –

“Thankfully, the mission of the church is not that complicated. The mission of the church comes directly from the command of Jesus, who, following his resurrection and just prior to his ascension, said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age” (Matt. 28:19-20; see also Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:46-49; John 20:20-31; Acts 1:5-8). Jesus speaks of going, evangelizing, making disciples, and planting churches that plant churches to continue the process.”

There is no command in the New Testament to plant churches unless we read it into the text.  Make disciples and churches will form organically but planting churches does not necessarily lead to the making of disciples.  We need to all get on Jesus’ mission not a replacement mission promoted by well meaning men.

Crash Diet Discipleship

20 04 2009

Most Christians have little interest or understanding of their need for ongoing discipleship training.  But when Christian leaders do become interested they seem to almost universally make the same mistake.  They treat discipleship training the same way many overweight people approach a diet – one new wonder diet idea after another.

When you’re overweight the only sustainable way to lose weight and keep it off is to make a lifelong change to your diet.  Sure you may start with an aggressive, unsustainable diet to knock off a bunch of weight in a single blitz, but if that doesn’t give way to a new approach to eating and exercise, the weight will come right back.

Most stabs at discipleship are like wonder diets that take you through a one time process like “40 Days of Purpose” or a membership course or one small group curriculum after another but is this creating a lasting change in your spiritual diet?  Is this an entry point into life-long discipleship training or a quick fix that replaces ongoing training?

So before you pull the trigger on the latest discipleship gimmick guaranteed to help your people grow or your money back ask yourself, is this sustainable?  If someone comes into our community 6 months from now can they get the same training?  If someone trains with us for 10 years can we keep challenging them at deeper levels?

God gave Israel a one-year curriculum for spiritual growth in the Torah that would repeat every year and deepen throughout one’s life.  Classical education involved one year’s worth of material every child would learn and deepen in every year.  The basis of discipleship must be a sustainable process that taps into the creation of an annual discipleship rhythm.  This is sustainable, repeatable, reproducible and endlessly challenging.

So let’s step off the discipleship roller coaster and design a lasting diet that can truly transform lives.