So recently, I have been diving into discipleship and gettting to the heart of the matter in the church and the responsibility of the pastor. (It helps when you do research with Barna's Growing True Disciples and Bill Hull's The Disciple Making Pastor for your doctoral work)
Here is the crisis: What kind of people is the church producing today?
The American church (claims to be 350,000 evangelical churches) is weak, self-indulgent, superficial and has been transformed by culture. That's it; plain and simple. In the part of the NE Texas where I live, there are 7 evangelical churches for 3500 people in population and the church that I am called as pastor roughly has 125 in attendance every Lord's Day for worship.
But the trend is several people dying each year that equals the number we have join either by conversion and baptism or by transfer. This staggering fact ought to alarm us!!!
We are not reproducing......we are trying to multiply!! If we multiply, we are being successful, pastor gets a big raise and people are happy. It's the American way!! Look at our shopping malls and restaurant chains. When business is good we see multiplication. That is not what Christ had in mind for the apostles in Acts 2 when three thousand were converted and baptized. They didnt immediately branch out planting new churches. They worked on their spiritual development and met together to worship, break bread, and fellowship and to be under their teaching. They were babies and the goal was to reproduce themselves to have teachers, preachers, evangelists, and missionaries.
So, if in fact, the goal is to reproduce, then what are we to do. We need to quit focusing on failing evangelism and mission efforts to focus on growing what we have to then launch disciple makers into the world. Isnt that what the apostles did? I am going out on a limb here......a strong one I hope....True disciple makers will not fail in evangelism and missions if they are mature believers in the Lord Jesus Christ and understand their purpose in Him.
Leave your comments, gripes, complaints, strong feelings and emotions. This is the beginning of a long series of blogs that I wnat to touch on as we look at a crisis in the church today....Brian