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Why do we resist it...?
A dear friend recently sent me a book on discipleship. A refreshing read… Nothing new, but I’ve always wished I had embraced these principles much sooner.
A few years after settling in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, we met believers near Mexico City who were doing it right. We were received with much graciousness and generosity of spirit. We came away with a living illustration of what making disciples looks like.
I felt like I had been doing Blindfolded Discipleship … I didn’t know what I was missing.
Everyone says the church isn’t the building. So… how come no one tries church without a building? Imagine church reduced to nothing but people and the homes they live in.
But building/no building is a surface issue. Our reluctance to pursue the primitive church model for growing disciples runs deeper. For starters…
It’s a powerful thing. I’m in my 70’s… ask me if it’s easier or harder now to get out for exercise than when I was 40. Once we’re settled, we like settled. Getting out of our chair is a process. Comfortable deadens us. We thank God for comfortable and settledness. We are content because we don’t need anything… or so we think. Remember the church in Laodicea? (Revelation 3:14-19)
"For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked." (Revelation 3:17, ESV)
The longer we settle for settled, right angle turns and risk-taking become less appealing. With time, our aversion to “new” has us saying… “but we’ve always done it this way.”
Tradition. Without our traditions,
Our lives would be as shaky as... as a fiddler on the roof!
Fiddler on the Roof - Tradition
We have a saying in Spanish… “Timidity (shame) is pride’s first cousin.”
It’s not easy to try new things… especially when we thought we were ok as worshipers and givers. It’s hard to admit we have little experience with the “personal” part of personal evangelism. We don’t know how to talk to “those people,” do we?
We didn’t intentionally refuse… we just let good things crowd out the first thing. If we try to do it now, we might make fools of ourselves. What if people laugh at us?
We are all naturally averse to personal accountability. Even though it’s the undergirding for genuine disciple-making, it’s the overriding reason we’re not interested. We are all like Adam… when we sin, we hide in the bushes. What if people found out who we really are? How can we make disciples if we’ve never really been one?
The second Adam—Jesus Christ—has better things in store for us. Confessing sin and incompetence is humbling, but well worth the pain. Blessings and joy will be the fruit of letting God grow us. We will thrive on watching God bring blessings and joy to others through us… conduits for the Gospel!
Sobremesa (after-meal table talk)
I can still hear the words of my dear friends in Mexico… “Do you want to start a traditional church or do you want to make disciples?”
We have enough traditional churches rendered anemic by the scarcity of true disciples. If we make discipleship the first thing, we’ll end up with the healthiest kind of churches.
Sobremesa times can be the best times. They promote keeping things real. They are the best format for reminding one another of why God left us here after he saved us.
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