I am finishing up a book entitled Rediscovering Discipleship by Robby Gallaty. He is a David Platt disciple, which is the pastor who wrote the book Radical, which talks about the way the “American Dream” has hijacked our faith as Christians. You can read more about David here.
Anyway, there is a chapter in Gallaty’s book, similar to the title of this blog post, that really got me thinking how difficult it is to build long-term, long-lasting relationships with people in a culture that thrives on the idea of having pretty much anything one wants with the click of a mouse. He introduces the chapter discussing the new “drone delivery” system that Amazon has been working on to get what you ordered to your doorstep in 30 minutes or less. “Amazon Prime Air, as it is called, will one day revolutionize e-commerce as we know it.” The thing I thought when I read this statement is that I have not really even gotten use to, or taken full advantage of e-commerce in its present state, and it is already being revolutionized!! This lead me to think about how this affects the thought processes of a culture. A culture that changes at a pace that is faster than the pace of me getting use to things in the culture. We no longer have the luxury of adjusting to a change. We have to adjust to the idea that we will be changing again before this change (whatever that change may be at a particular moment), finds it’s place in our daily existence.
This is a challenge that affects people differently. In his book, Generational IQ, Haydn Shaw says, “…generations relate differently to God and often fight about those differences based on their unique generational characteristics….We struggle to love people we don’t appreciate or understand.” He goes on to make distinctions between the Traditionalists (people born before 1945), Baby Boomers (1946-1964), Gen Xers (1965-1980), and Millennials (1981-2001). He talks about the strengths of each generation, as well as their biggest challenges. You can find out more about his book here.
So, as I thought about this information I have been reading and studying, I went back to Gallaty’s book and the chapter about “McChristianity.” He makes some statements that fly in the face of the “current change(s)” I am trying to get used to in our culture. “Discipleship is a Crock-Pot recipe.” So why do we continue to go to the drive-thru and look for the greatest program or next mega-church model to copy in order to jump-start our discipleship ministry? “Discipleship takes time.” Why do we organizationally, as churches, try to microwave it and market Jesus in such a way that he becomes like an attraction at the circus? He asks the question, “Could it be that one of the reasons we are not seeing more intentional discipleship take place today is that we do not want to wait upon the Lord, that we lack the patience to persevere in the long-term commitment required to make disciples?” So why do I feel this “pressure” to come up with some type of discipleship “program?”
He goes on to address this question by saying ” One of the reasons we are not seeing discipleship take place in churches is because church leadership may assume that is needs to execute the ministry instead of empowering others to do it.” He goes on to say that “ministry is a the pathway to maturity, not vice versa.” So I am coming to understand that discipleship is relationship. It takes time. It is not a program. It cannot be rushed. We all need to be empowered and compelled to do it. The goal of discipleship is conformity the image of Christ, not more people in church or small groups. It is a crock-pot recipe and cannot be microwaved or picked up in the drive-thru. “Discipleship is not a system based on ‘huge numbers, fast!’ Rather, it is entirely dependent on human connection and an honest journey together. Once we are willing to grow together into the image of Christ, massive change will come.”
So, I have got work to do. I need to set some realistic goals and start a discipleship group. Human connection. So, I guess that really was the Holy Spirit talking to me this morning as I wolfed down my drive-thru breakfast, while driving to church checking my iphone, to see if my order from Amazon was going to be delivered before the weekend?
Lord, help me to slow down enough to be discipled, and to disciple others.