Discipleship, or disciple making is the trending conversation in the church of the West today. What was once a forgotten focus of the church in many contexts, has become an increasingly hot topic in the last decade. Search discipleship methods on Google and you get almost 4 million results. I can’t keep up with the number of spiritual formation and disciple making books on my shelf. This week alone I received notice of two new releases.
Anyone who chooses to wade into the ocean of content, quickly discovers similarities amongst theology, philosophy, and practice, while also encountering polarized opinions around what some would consider basic spiritual formation principles. I don’t know about you, but I’m personally exhausted by more “failed” experiments than I have heart to count. What will distinguish my next experiment from the last dozen?
It’s overwhelming. What if I pick a method, make the shift, and find out in 2, 5 or even 10 years I picked the wrong one? I’ve personally felt the responsibility of leading a church in the Great Commission and the burden of being unfaithful with God’s assignment to me. I don’t take the decision lightly.
How about you? Have you ever asked God ,
“How do I make disciples who make disciples?”
I believe many of us are unified in our plea to God,
“Where do I start?”
In my most recent research, I’ve discovered our imagination for spiritual formation has been strongly formed by our western church context. As a result, the logic and reasoning we apply to all things spiritual formation, are significantly bounded by the borders of a culture we struggle to see beyond. Don’t hear me saying the western church culture is bad but do hear me say it’s limited. The proof is in the decades of ineffective discipleship pathways that are not leading to transformed disciples, owning, and influencing the spiritual formation of others. Simply applying new methods to our existing construct isn’t working.
In his book The New Copernicans: Millennials and the Survival of the Church, David John Seel Jr. equivalates world views to frames. He explains how our logic only works within an individual frame. When we apply the logic of one frame, to another, it’s non-sensical. Seel Jr. asserts that’s it’s only through imagination that we can make the leap between frames. Most in the West agree; the church is long overdue for a new frame.
Here at reKindle, we’ve formed a tool to assist you and your leadership in identifying your existing frame of disciple making, so you can then dream towards a new, preferred future. We’ve created a conversation guide that walks you through a communal, reflective exercise. This first guide is designed to simply get the conversation started. It’s designed for those who don’t know where to start and are struggling to imagine a new way forward.
Using the Christian education principle of Shared Praxis, combined with a Guided Discovery journey, participants uncover existing beliefs and practices, along with the influences that formed them. We introduce a sampling of best thinking around disciple making and invite participants to consider committing to a longer journey of discovery and research which in turn, can increase clarity, unity, and intention in making disciples who make disciples.
We don’t assign methods or recommend any silver bullet. Remember, any solution we apply to the old frame will only have similar results or seem non-sensical. We trust this process will make space for the imagination to move towards a new paradigm in your disciple making journey.
Photo by Gia Oris, Unsplash