Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rethinking How Disciples Are Made—Part 1

"I came through the whole system with the best education that evangelicalism had to offer—yet I really didn't receive the training that I needed... seven years of higher education in top-rated evangelical schools didn't prepare me to 1) do ministry and 2) be a leader. I began to analyze why I could preach a great sermon and people afterwards would shake my hand and say, 'Great sermon, Pastor.' But these were the very people who were struggling with self-esteem, beating their spouses, struggling as workaholics, succumbing to their addictions, Their lives weren't changing. I had to ask myself why this great knowledge I was presenting didn't move from their heads to their hearts and their lives. And I began to realize that the breakdown in the church was actually based on what we learned in seminary. We were taught that if you just give people information, that's enough."
—Dr. Clyde McDowell, Vantage Point: The Newsletter of Denver Seminary, June 1998

Is it REALLY possible to make disciples of Jesus Christ by dispensing information via speaking, preaching, and teaching alone?

What do you think?

Click on the comment link below and speak your heart and mind.


For a FREE ebook you can use to think this issue through with others, GO HERE.

9 comments:

Jeff said...

NO... That's what I think because it is what God thinks.

Oh, you wanted more than a dogmatic statement in response? ...

We were studying Judges 2 in our Weds AM group and our lead in question dealt with "How can an entire generation can repent and the next generation turn to idol worship as soon as they are gone?"

The next generation surely knew ABOUT God and what their histroy was... but they had no PERSONAL experience/knowledge OF God.

They had been "taught" (maybe not) and preached to, but the fathers had not interacted with the next generation as per Deut. 6 ...

I'm just sayin'....

Tim H said...

I think the direction of travel is FROM our hearts TO our heads. The power of the Spirit is in our hearts it's our brains that continue to make wrong choices.

If we could isolate the ego gene we could really pump out disciples.

Mateo said...

I agree with Jeff. It's not possible to make a disciple from preaching, speaking and teaching in a general format. Lecturing doesn't do it. To bring someone into discipleship means to interact, to teach on a personal level, to walk with someone through the process. It's about being a spiritual father or mother, not just a lecturer. We have the statistics on what happens to a child with an absentee father, but the church has been "absentee fathers" for a long time. "Listen to me and then do it on your own." It's like Jeff said... there are a lot of people who know about God, but have never had a personal experience. Ok, I'll stop now... I feel a Caffeine Buzz post coming, lol. God bless.

The Bullhorn said...

Bill,

You know I'm already singing out of your hymn book on this and maybe it's too late to post, but I couldn't agree more. Information does not necessarily equate to transformation. People experience truth as it is lived out and then believe it, but they also believe it and then experience it. Too often I think we make it one or the other, because of our individual tendencies, but the fact is both are absolutely necessary.

Joe

Bill Allison said...

Joe...

1. You are indeed a kindred spirit.
2. It's never too late to post... thanks for posting.
3. I'm trying my best to sing from the Jesus' hymn book... though I must say... that I believe that Jesus' hymn book has some decent blues in it too : )
4. Yes... both are necessary... but which one is missing?

Love you Joe... and as soon as I get on top of my 268 emails waiting for me... want to do coffee or lunch...

BA

ringels said...

interestingly enough, 3 of our church's pastors do not have a seminary degree, but they're great at being a pastor. that doesn't mean everybody likes it, some people still believe you can't do the job without the schooling. they're great at the relationship side of it, and have been wildly more successful than some seminary graduates we've had.

go figure.

Bill Allison said...

Ringels... thanks for the comment... very real life.

KlamMan said...

Hey all. I ask myself what did Jesus excel in? Making disciples, of course! Although after his class closed (temporarily when He died) one disciple was a labeled a traitor, one denied ever knowing his teacher, and many other fled into the night. Bummer. Looks like failing grades for everyone. Jesus would have been out of a job in todays economy.

KlamMan said...

However... later on they excelled after a few things fell into place. The seeds Jesus put into place in His disciples lives bloomed and a worldwide movement started. Fs turned into A+s. Seems to me that Jesus did teach and transmit information (in cool stories as well as straight-up deep theology). He also used experiences as well. But what galvanized them was when they finally surrendered; surrendering to the Spirit (even if you have to do crazy out-of-the-box things), surrendering to mission (even if it takes you to people very much unlike you), and surrendering to the cross (truly denying yourself and dying to pride, ambitions, dreams, comfort, security, etc) just like their Teacher did. And the seeds of self died and new life grew and grew and grew. All the while abiding in Jesus. AND being in community.

Seems to me disciple making like Jesus sure isn't a fill in the blank booklet that's for sure. ;)