Breaking out of old mindsets

Yesterday I spent the day with some fellow workers from around the UK who are all involved with quote – church planting – unquote. That definition means different things to different people. Stuart Murray Williams (Urban Expression) shared his thoughts on “church planting” in the last 20/25 years and some current trends that he has observed. It was no surprise that the big issue he sees everywhere is “What is a disciple of Jesus Christ and how do we help people become one?” The conversation and debate was good but it still revealed the default mode of so many of us. Do these mindsets still need to be smashed in the UK?

“Making friends or disciples?”

Did Jesus or any other ‘worker’ in the New Testament advocate the idea that we need to spend lots of time building up relationships with people to earn the right to share the Gospel? Yes we need to be prayerful, culturally sensitive and led by the Holy Spirit in our missional efforts – but will simply becoming friends with people lead to the discipleship of the nation (which is our mission from Jesus?) I would suggest that in the scriptures we see in the lives of Jesus and other ‘workers’ a different way…

“Babysitting believers who should know better or advancing the Kingdom?

Why do we so easily drift back into the default mode that says Church is a place to babysit believers who should know better? Our great sermons, information, theories and theology have encouraged couch potato christians. ‘Come and receive’ has taken the place of Jesus’ command to “obey and go”. Without a clear foundation of mission which Stuart Murray referred to yesterday our churches become places for professing believers to talk but not act.

“What we know Vs what we do?”

How much theology and training do we need to obey Jesus? I am involved with a group of recovering addicts who are becoming disciples of Jesus. Compared to your average “church goer” they know very little about “theology”. But they are taking the little they are discovering and putting it into practice through obedience and sharing with others. So what is better – someone who knows a little but obeys or someone who knows a lot but does nothing? Jesus seemed to invest his life into some guys who knew very little but did something. Is our whole system and understanding of “Christianity” based on knowledge rather than obedience?

What do you think?

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Darrel March 29, 2012 at 11:20 am

It seems we’ve believed in order to get ‘saved’ and go to heaven – not to take up a Cross and live a crucified life in the here-and-now as Kingdom people.

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admin March 29, 2012 at 11:26 am

Thanks Darrel. It came as a bit of a shock to me as well when I read the Bible for myself and realised that I wasn’t supposed to be jumping on board the Gospel express to heaven and enjoying the ride but was supposed to be following in my master’s footsteps….

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Darrel March 29, 2012 at 12:19 pm

“I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.” (Ezek 36:27)
So part of the New Covenant (contract) is the provision of the ability to obey Him… but I for one was never taught this ‘in church’.
What’s to blame for this:
Dualism?
The clergy / laity divide?
A gospel presentation without the application of the Cross to our own flesh?
One thing I know – there’s no way of firing up ‘believers’ if the flesh is alive and well! As Paul writes to the Romans “For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” Until the flesh is dealt a death blow we’ll just be like Peter before his denial… thinking we can / would, when really we can’t / won’t… sadly, we often seem to have to deny Him before we realise our impotence.
Just some more thoughts!

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Malkiyahu April 4, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Regarding your last point, I think you’re right that Christianity places knowledge above obedience. But it seems to me that the more immediate problem is that Christianity places doing above knowledge. Of course, that “doing” isn’t obedience, since it’s based on the traditions of men. Our Western culture is obsessed with doing things whether or not we have a clue what we’re doing. That’s how Christianity arrived at the sad state it’s in today.

“Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge, and he who hurries his footsteps errs” (Proverbs 19:2).

“Jesus seemed to invest his life into some guys who knew very little but did something.” And how did He invest His life in them? By spending years giving them knowledge of the truth. He obviously knew He couldn’t send them out to proclaim the truth if they didn’t understand the truth themselves.

Obviously, someone who knows a little and obeys is better than someone who knows everything and disobeys. In addition, it should also be obvious that someone who knows a lot and obeys is much better off than someone who knows a little and obeys.

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admin April 4, 2012 at 7:32 pm

Thanks for your comments Malkiyahu It’s interesting to look through the scriptures though and to see how Jesus doesn’t seperate knowledge from obedience. Obedience is the evidence of knowledge. Jesus called His followers into a life of faith and obedience. As we obey what we know God entrusts more into our hands. Thanks Malkiyahu…

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