Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Great Commission Redux
But note that He did not say: go and build mega-churches [I mean both the membership in numbers and the physical ownership and maintenance of the huge buildings]. Go and create children's ministry, youth's ministry, women's ministry, single's ministry, senior citizens ministry, and [last and least] men's ministry. Go count: weekly church worship and Sunday School attendances, numbers of self-confessed conversions, numbers of baptism and numbers of missionaries sent. Go and build up volunteer systems with training sessions, background checks, record tracking and annual retreats.
I write all this with tongue-in-cheek, because I am [technically] still a member of a mega-church in Austin, TX and have seen it grow from few hundred to few thousands over the past 8 years. And our church loves to re-read Matt 28:18-20 and tries to reapply it to our church, right now, today. Unfortunately, what I was taught was:
- Discipleship is all about taking classes over several weeks. It is not a multi-year (if not multi-decade) mentorship.
- Baptism: that's what the pastors do after some sort of training. But the numbers which matters are the conversion numbers (as if Christian life was a one time event)
- Obey: This area is murky since what they teach is invariably weakened by human reinterpretation of the Bible, which no one is immune from, including yours truly.
And my thinking is that church happens as part of discipleship [creating disciples create church and worship happens as an outgrowth of this fellowship of the saints] not the other way around as it is done in most churches: church meetings take place and discipleship may or may not happen. Which is why I believe Jesus said:
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations [Matthew 28:19a]Rather than "go and start a church." Or start a denomination. Or sign up new members. Or invite friends to take part in church [or play church]. Or get friends and relatives to be churchy [like invite them to your home fellowship rather than to the big-mega church].
NO! He said "go and make disciples."
And the call for me, I believe, is to make myself and my sons His disciples [with other men's help, of course] rather than His church attenders and church members.
[I don't know how wives and daughters fit into all this, yet.]
As a side note:
I now personally believe that Matt 28:18-20 is a call only for the 11 disciples, not anyone else. I believe that we are called by God individually and our responsibility is to obey our calling (be it to fulfill 1 or 2 or 3 or zero of the 3 parts of the Great Commission). My hats off to my friend who pointed this out for him [and his family] and I agree!
More background: I write all this because of the things which I wasn't happy about in the book I've started reading this week: Why Men Hate Going to Church. The author, Murrow, seems to emphasize making the current church more attractive to men rather than re-thinking church. Ever since I read Howard Snyder's The Problem of Wineskins: Church Structure in a Technological Age, I have been weary of traditional church [for many years now] and Murrow's book made me rethink some more and then I felt compelled to go back to what the Great Commission really says and hence this blog entry.
Copyright 2006, DannyHSDad, All Rights Reserved.