Moving Discipleship Out of the Church ~ BitterSweetLife

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Moving Discipleship Out of the Church

iMonk has a thought-provoking post up about discipleship. He raises some excellent questions and makes some needed points. I italicized some that I think urgently need to be asked, answered, and absorbed in new, less-than-"traditional" ways.

How does discipleship relate to the church? Is participating in church programs the way a person expresses discipleship? If I am a serious follower of Jesus, will I be spending more time at church? Will church activities be the measurement of discipleship?

Are church programs the place where disciples are formed? What are the true place and value of spiritual disciplines? If a person is saved and going to heaven, why do things like prayer and Bible study matter?

My experience taught me that it was questions like these, questions about the value and place of discipleship, that remained unanswered for many people. Their involvement in the church not only did not further the practices that fostered discipleship, it often replaced those practices, or provided a context for conceiving of a kind of discipleship that was removed from the world.

One other observation. I believe that discipleship occurs as much in the unstructured and informal as in the structured and planned. Efforts to “produce” or “create” mentoring relationships via sign up lists and programs are effective only as much as they create an atmosphere where the informal and spontaneous work of the Spirit can occur...

This creates particular kinds of problems for those who do not function well in informal settings, but it also should cause us to reconsider the evaluative propaganda most churches use to demonstrate, through numbers, that discipleship is occurring.

What suggestions would you make to help move discipleship "out of" the church subculture and into the real world?--with the implication that only then is real discipleship taking place.

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Culture. Photos. Life's nagging questions. - BitterSweetLife