Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Discipleship or cruise ship

I've been thinking about two pieces I recently read on following Jesus.

First, Mike Slaughter has an interesting post 'Discipleship or Cruise Ship?' I think it hits a lot of us square on the head. Here's a snippet...
A few weeks ago I addressed the whole issue of the church setting a low bar of involvement that calls people to make a decision for Jesus rather than make a commitment to become a disciple of Jesus. I fear that we have given people a false and simplistic view of salvation. The churches that grew in the 1980’s and 90’s were based for the most part on a seeker-attraction model rather than a costly call to renounce the predominate culture (worldview) and claim the worldview of Jesus (I refer to this as the “Missional Church”). The result has been “born again” church attendees (vs. servant-participants), who have brought Jesus into their own worldview rather than being transformed into his. Many of our mega churches have created programming that mirrors that experienced on a cruise ship rather than Jesus’ relational-missional model of discipleship.

I also read in Fran's church newsletter last week some of his thoughts on the difference between being a "Christian" and a "follower of Jesus." He says...

It seems these days that people talk easily about being Christians. The polls tell us that a huge number of people in America consider themselves to be Christians. In some sense, that is good, because it means that most of them, in some way or another, have some kind of affection for Jesus Christ.

But have we seriously considered whether we want to follow the Jesus of the Gospels? He himself was always telling people how much it would cost them, and that they better think hard about it. Why? Because to follow Jesus is not just to accept him in some heartfelt but largely inconsequential way, or to go to church, or to hold to a conservative morality, or to vote a certain way. To follow him is to say that we agree with how he sees things (us, others, the world). To follow him is to begin to see what he saw, to value what he valued (and didn't), and to live as he lived.

To follow Jesus Christ is largely to conclude that we as human beings have become blind and taken a very bad turn that has left us terribly lost, and then to let him be our guide back to all that is truly good human living...

I think both of these point out the great need FOR the church. It's a place to learn about Jesus; it is a place to feed and be fed; but as Reggie McNeal pointed out, it is not the destination. Sometimes cruise ships are necessary - to help us heal and rejuvenate and whatnot - but I think a lot of church leaders have tried to make the ship the point just to get more passengers. And too many passengers can lead to sinking.

I dunno... just thinking.