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But are we maturing in Christ?

Posted by on Sep 21, 2011 in discipleship | 4 comments

But are we maturing in Christ?

At the end of my previous post (“A spinning cog in the Rube Goldberg machinery“), I added a link to an article (on “Internet Monk”) about Shaun King called “Hooray for Shaun King!

Now, if you are like me, you have never heard of Shaun King until you read that article, or another article about his recent decision. What decision is that?

Well, for the last three years, Shaun King has been the pastor of a hip, growing church in the Atlanta area. A few weeks ago, he resigned. Why? Well, this is what he said (as I quoted at the end of my previous article):

What I am saying is that church attendance, Sunday morning services, sermon-listening (or even sermon preaching), song-singing, hand-clapping, amen-saying and all of the things that “Christ-ians” have lifted up so high look so little like Christ himself that I am utterly convinced that we are completely off base with what discipleship means.

You can read this and more in Shaun’s post “3 Extremely Hard-Earned (Trust Me) Lessons on Starting Something New, Change, and Discipleship.”

Now, I know that some of my readers do not agree with Shaun about the value of “church attendance, Sunday morning services, sermon-listening (or even sermon preaching), song-singing, hand-clapping, amen-saying,” and other things that churches normally do and encourage. However, please don’t get lost in those details.

The main problem for Shaun was that they were not discipling people. People were not maturing in Jesus Christ. They were doing alot of things, but those things were not beneficial in helping one another follow Jesus.

(By the way, if I remember correctly, Willow Creek’s leadership came to a similar conclusion a few years ago.)

My last few posts have focused on this question: “Are we helping one another follow Jesus and mature in him?”

If we are, then great. If not, then are we willing to change? (You should definitely read Shaun’s post about, because he talks alot about willingness to change.)

Are you maturing in Christ? How can you tell? Are the people around you that you interact with maturing in Christ? How can you tell?


4 Comments

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  1. 9-21-2011

    Alan,
    I think we know ppl are maturing in Christ with a few things (although this isn’t exhaustive these are foundational I believe).

    -ppl who do in their works because they are driven by desire to glirify and please God and not wait for a pastor or some other appointed leader to tell them to do it.

    -ppl who are teachable

    -ppl who are honest…meaning they are open in their faults and use them to draw iut more passionate and living pursuit in Christ.

    -ppl who hate their own sin but live others despite theirs

    These are ones that initially come to mind…probably more personal but I believe these things are pretty crucial for all. (I cld maybe word them better with clarity not on the fly)

  2. 9-21-2011

    JRo,

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I’m hoping others will jump in as well, because I think this is an important discussion.

    -Alan

  3. 9-21-2011

    My mind buzzes around a few things in scripture when we get to this topic.
    One is the parable of the sheep and goats. There were lots of people doing great things that didn’t know Jesus. It seemed like the “sheep” were people willing to love and serve the people who could do nothing for them directly or indirectly.

    A disciple will embody the love of Christ and share it unselfishly with others.

    Another passage seems to speak to this more directly.

    For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For whoever lacks these qualities is so nearsighted that he is blind, having forgotten that he was cleansed from his former sins.
    (2Pe 1:5-9 ESV)

    I’d summarize this as character and righteous values.

    The only way one can know whether the people around you are becoming more Christlike is to have a mutually beneficial open transparent relationship with them. These kinds of relationships are difficult to build up while looking at the back of someone’s head or sitting awkwardly in a living room with people too afraid to be real.

  4. 9-21-2011

    Leighton,

    Excellent addition to this discussion! The Gospels include several accounts where Jesus tells how people will recognize his disciples.

    -Alan