Thursday, February 09, 2012


Is Discipleship A Culture?

Ron Edmondson puts up one of those "4 zone" charts. I hate the things, but here is his prose summary:
Invitation - This refers to the atmosphere and degree of welcoming a church or an individual message provides. Do people enjoy being there? Do they want to come back? Is it inviting? Is a message fun to listen to? Is it encouraging and helpful?

Challenge - This refers to the degree others are encouraged to grow in their walk with Christ. Are they challenged? Are they held accountable? Are personal disciplines encouraged? Are sins exposed? Are expectations strong?

The theory is that churches tend to fall into one of these four quadrants:

Low Invitation / High Challenge – Produces a discouraged/burnout culture.
Low Invitation / Low Challenge – Produces a bored culture.
High Invitation / Low Challenge – Produces a cozy/chaplaincy culture.
High Invitation / High Challenge – Produces a discipling culture.

I wouldn’t attempt to put churches in one of these categories, but I could. I know some of each of these. Chances are you do too.

If you put Jesus, the master disciple-maker in this diagram, we find He was both high invitation…people loved to be around Him…they were attracted to Him…yet He continually challenged them. He confronted them where their life needed to change.
That just feels wrong to me - discipleship is not a culture - it's a relational and person-to-person thing. I honestly do not now how to do discipleship in a crowd. One disciple makes another disciple that makes another disciple. A certain culture results when you have a room full of disciples, but you cannot create a culture like that and have it make disciples.

I think that may be the biggest problem facing the church today. We try to create culture and let it change people, never realizing that it is the people that create the culture.

The church is in the people making business. We are a Rolls-Royce factory, not a Ford factory. Every Rolls is hand built, by one man, making sure everything is perfect. (At least they used to be) Yes, they make far fewer every year than Ford and they cost a bloody fortune, but they last an eternity. A Ford comes off the line all shiny and mass-produced, and you know you will have to by a new one between 70,000 and 100,000 miles. Junk yards everywhere are full of Fords, but not Rolls.

Really? Do we in the church want to make stuff that ends up in the junk yard?

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