From 3DM’s Mission and Discipleship Workshop description: “More and more, people are realizing we are in the midst of a discipleship crisis in the United States which is largely responsible for the state of the American church. At the same time, there is a wave of excitement about the current missional movement that has been bubbling up in the last 10-15 years that many people are hoping will stop the bleeding. The fundamental issue, however, is that unless we are able to disciple people well like Jesus did, any missional movement is unsustainable.
Our general experience is that people are quite intrigued to hear how we’ve used things like Huddles (a discipleship vehicle) and Missional Communities (a missional vehicle) to see discipleship and mission come alive in their church communities, looking more and more like the churches we see in the New Testament. This 2.5 day workshop is a time to look at some of the things we’ve learned in the past 30 years, dealing with post-Christian contexts where as little as 1% of people attend church. It’ll have teaching, discussion, breakout time with your team, a chance to actually experience Huddles and Missional Communities, worship and down time.”
For notes and audio from day 1 check out my previous post. Just as yesterday, if my notes don’t make sense or you want to hear more click here to download the audio from this session.
- Discipleship is a simple concept that is difficult in practice.
- Luke 22:24-27 – Jesus is offering a covenant and kingdom to his followers. In Jesus’ world power was understood as a means to advance your own interests, but Jesus says that in God’s kingdom it doesn’t work that way.
- Power and Provision
- When the church was embraced as the religion of the Roman Empire, the oikos (house) movement of the church became institutionalized. As that happened the church was conformed to the social structure of the day. Priests became part of the nobility, people of power and influence.
- After the Roman Empire fell, feudalism became the dominant social system. The nobility had the power – they owned all the land. The peasant class was given provision as they worked the land that they didn’t own and paid taxes to nobility. This social contract was stable for centuries. It failed when droughts or disasters destroyed this system. The peasants came to the nobility whom they had empowered, expecting provision. But often it had been squandered by the nobility. This led to revolution.
- In Europe history erased this system, but it has been exchanged for another form of feudalism. The state has been given power, and the expectation is that they will provide. Thus high taxes and large state programs.
- When America was settled, new ideas propagated based on the rights of all people. Power derived from the people participating in their own governance. Land ownership and provision would be available to all people. But feudalism wasn’t quite done – it remained in the church. The clergy had power and were expected to provide in return for the congregation’s faithful payment.
- Jesus taught a different way. Every person is given power. Every person is expected to be fruitful and provide for themselves and others. No longer would they look to a small group of people to provide for them spiritually.
- Jesus does this with his followers through a process of discipleship. It is a mix of invitation and challenge.
- Matthew 16:17-19 – Jesus invites Peter into covenant relationship. He shares a name with Jesus, his covenant brother. He becomes Petros (little rock) and on the Petra (big rock), Jesus, the church will be built. The keys to the kingdom are given in exchange as part of this covenant, and power comes with this kingdom authority.
- A high invitation/high challenge environment is an environment of discipleship.
- A high invitation/low challenge evnvironement is a “cozy” environment. This is an environment where leaders are chaplains, and it creates a consumeristic environment.
- A low invitation/low challenge environment is a “boring” environment. This creates apathy. We often do this with children. We create a boring experience for them as children and are then surprised when they “check out” as adolescents.
- A low invitation/high challenge environment is a “stressful” environment. This creates discouragement.
- Most churches live in the high invitation/high challenge quadrant. It is nearly impossible to move people from this environment to the discipling quadrant of high invitation/high challenge. You usually have to pass through the valley – into a low invitation/high challenge environment. People may leave, but those who stay will be ready to enter into the high invitation/high challenge environment.