I’m realizing more and more that God’s dream for church, and my dream for our church, absolutely requires discipleship.
Discipleship simply means the process of helping someone become mature in their faith and Christlikeness. The benediction from the end of 2 Peter sums it up well… “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
This process is a lot like Michelangelo turning a monumental chunk of marble into the famous statue of David, which still sits in a Florence museum viewed by countless tourists each year. Michelangelo had to sculpt the statue. There was friction… there was hammering… and there was sanding and polishing. It wasn’t a passive endeavor.
Pastors, myself included, get lulled into the idea that our sermons alone will change people into Christlikeness. It won’t happen. Sermons are passive. There is no friction… no hammering… no sanding and polishing. These things happen when a mature Christian commits to work on a monumental chunk of marbel. It happens when a genuine, authentic and consistent relationship comes into existence for the purpose of teaching and sculpting. It happens, not in preaching, but in discipleship.
The growth of Antioch, however exciting it is, will feel hollow if we don’t as a community grow spiritually and help each other grow spiritually.
The polar opposite of what I dream for Antioch would be a large amount of people living double lives… coming in the doors with big Christian smiles and then walking out into the world with big worldly smiles.
For quite a while I’ve tried to pray for an hour a day for Antioch – I decided last week to dedicate the entire prayer time each day to the topic of discipleship and spiritual maturity.
Numerical growth is great… spiritual growth is better.