Friday, 16 December 2011

Chicken & egg = Mission & maturity?

Photograph: Dennis Novak/Getty Images
I came across an excellent article entitled Why the missional movement will fail written by Mike Breen the former Senior Rector at St. Thomas Sheffield, where he pioneered some very different ways of being the church.

In summary he is saying that missional churches and activities are great and he aligns himself fully with them BUT the foundational work of discipleship is often missed out and so ultimately these movements may not last. He says, "If you’re good at making disciples, you’ll get more leaders than you’ll know what to do with. If you make disciples like Jesus made them, you’ll see people come to faith who didn’t know Him. If you disciple people well, you will always get the missional thing. Always."

I agree with him that discipleship is not on the agenda much if at all in most churches. If you asked a sample of people from a range of churches are you being or have you been discipled I wonder what they would answer?
Apart from the discipleship of new Christians do churches have any ongoing discipleship framework? Small groups are part of the answer but just part, not the complete 'magic' answer on their own.

Discipleship is intentional, long term and hardwork, but it is the best way to build solid foundations that reap fruit 30, 60 and 100 times (Mark 4:20). Back in 1988 there was a phrase coined about "the decade of evangelism", an extended period where evangelism was sort to be put at the top of the agenda, I think we may need a focus on discipleship (for a decade?) otherwise we may just be on a mission with a lot of immature people.

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