Discipleship Retro

Have you noticed how many things have gone retro… clothes, cars, furniture, appliances.  Vinyl records are making a comeback.   I wish I had kept my leisure suits because I am sure they will return soon! Maybe even my bell bottom pants I wore in college.  Some are nostalgic and want to return to the good ole days when church attendance was up and life seemed much simpler.

This retro thinking reminds me of how we sometimes view discipleship.

We go to all the new conferences, seminars and read the latest books to get a grip on how to more effectively grow our churches and make disciples.  Nothing wrong with that, but everyone seems to be looking for the discipleship silver bullet; that one easy step that will propel our church forward and solve all our problems.  Maybe, something from the past was lost.  We debate Sunday School versus small groups, traditional music versus contemporary, deacons versus elders, using hymn books versus projectors, and on and on.

The truth is the Lord can bless any church He chooses to bless regardless of their music or methods.   1 Cor 3:6 says, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth.”  NASU  “makes things grow” NIV “God gave the increase” KJV  “God gave the growth” HCSB

The single factor I’ve observed in churches that are growing is the fact that they are committed to “make disciples.”  They constantly celebrate baptisms and spiritual victories in the lives of their members and other lives that their members touch.

They are not so much doing church as they are being the church.  The members have been equipped, trained and released to do ministry.  All feel called to make disciples and all are using their spiritual gifts to make a difference in their churches and communities.  This is not rocket science.

My observation is that discipleship happens best in small groups with someone who loves the Lord and loves people and is willing to spend some time and energy helping these people grow in Christ.  Jesus modeled this with His disciples.  We cannot improve on His Message or His Model for doing discipleship.

We need a discipleship retro back to the first century.

I believe it was Will Rogers who said, “Nostalgia is not what it used to be.”  I do wish I could wear my bell bottoms again.

Keep the Son in your Eyes,

Mike James

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