It struck me again today that what we are seeking to achieve is nothing short of ludicrous; those of us who dream of building communities of passionate Jesus following disciples.
I mean that.
What makes anyone think that a bunch of people who are fairly content with their lives and who are moving ‘up in the world’ might want to make that a secondary priority to ‘taking up their cross daily’ and following Jesus?
Why would your average middle class suburbanite sacrifice the pleasures and self gratification of life as they know it to live a counter cultural life of discipleship? How do we communicate that kind of a call to people?
My ego is interested in seeing a ‘bigger church’, but I’m really quite unimpressed with just more people if we have no more disciples, no more people choosing to live life like Jesus would. I know this whole thing is a process etc etc. Blah blah blah… but some days I look at how hard it is to make disciples out of those who are in the church and I wonder how the hell are we going to make any kind of a dent on those outside…
Some days I look in the mirror and I am reminded that if I’ve been at this for 30 years and I am still struggling along then what can I expect from people who have no concept of who Christ is?
When you think about it what we are really asking people to do is to lay down all of their hopes and dreams, all of their ambitions (not just to sing about doing it) and to live a life of humility, sacrifice and ‘downward mobility’ to quote Bill Hybels. I know it doesn’t mean all pain, suffering etc, but the call to discipleship is a brutal one – a disturbing one.
I am fairly sure we could get a bunch of people coming to a ‘church service’ – the disguntleds will come from far and wide to sniff your proverbial and see if they like you better than the one down the road, but is that the start of a discipleship journey? Blah!
We don’t want to simply pick up the flotsam and jetsam that gets dropped on our doorstep from other churches. We do want to connect with ordinary Aussies who have no concept of Christ and call them to discipleship – to live lives of wild abandonment to the values of the kingdom and to reproduce that in others. We do want to see communities transformed as people live lives of devotion to Jesus and the stuff he is about.
Some days it just seems like a crazy dream… nothing more… can it really happen?…
Here’s what Jesus had to say…
Matt 10: 39 If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.
Do we believe that?