Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Non-Linear Discipleship

I've been thinking about discipleship a lot lately. After all, it's my job. To help people become fully devoted followers of Christ. But what does that mean and how do we do it? A lot of us in church world like to set people on a track of academic type classes that are designed to help people rise to the next level of discipleship. We offer stuff like Membership 101, Growth 201, Discipleship 301, and Leadership 401. It's easy to implement, manage, and measure. But are people really being changed? I'm not sure.

At NCC, we've implemented something called "non-linear" discipleship. We embrace the idea that growth into Christ-likeness is never the same, linear path for every person. And Jesus' approach with his disciples appears to be anything but linear. It was personal and born out of relationship. I think spiritual growth can be predictable to some degree, but it never seems to be linear. This is a theme that I keep coming back to.

Still...I'm not sure people are truly being changed or if they are just checking off boxes. We run the risk of building programs instead of building people. How can we make sure we stay laser-focused on building people. I'm convinced that information without relationship is not true discipleship.

3 Comments:

At 1:30 PM, Anonymous Paul Bowman said...

This is a constant struggle for those of us in church leadership. There is a delicate balance that we need find. I think a regular evaluation of some sort is essential to make sure we dont get stuck in the program driven rut.

 
At 3:07 AM, Blogger pornaddict said...

I total agree that information without relationship is pointless. Just because someone has Bible knowledge doesn't mean they are connected / abiding in Christ.

I think AA is onto something - a community of people were it is safe to share your inner darkness.

Non-linear Discipleship, I think John Wesley tapped into the genius of the concept.

 
At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Lappidoth said...

If Jesus' approach was "personal and born out of relationship," does that mean we need to provide people with a mentor to guide them along their non-linear route? I'd love to see a small group leader take the same core group of people through each of the core discipleship groups.

 

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