Please read this whole post, consider it, and share it if you think that is helpful. I never ask for that but by the end of the post I think you will see why this post is different.
People don’t start movements. God starts movements. When it seems people start movements, it is really them jumping into something God had been lining up for quite some time.
In the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when the children go through the magical wardrobe and find themselves in the land of Narnia they run into Mr. and Mrs. Beaver who tell them about Aslan, the lion.
“Aslan is a lion. The Lion. The great Lion.”
“Ooh” said Susan. “I’d thought he was a man. Is he-quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion”
“Safe?” said Mr Beaver
“Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Before the children ever met the Beavers or found their way through the wardrobe, past the coats and the mothballs…Aslan was already working. Four thrones had already been waiting. Prophesies had already been spoken and written.
The children walk into circumstances and situations that were already in motion and they needed to play their part in the bigger picture. They were just now becoming aware of the narrative arc, the current of the river, to be swept up in the story that they didn’t start but were caught in the middle of.
I believe “Aslan is on the move” today. I believe in the next 5-10 years our churches are going to be shaken up. Broken down. Put back together. Better.
Various factors are going to converge that will put us to the test. Some of this will result in division (for those who already have a divisive spirit) but some of it will result in greater unity. We will finally put first things first and leave behind some of the tired topics of the past (those will always have a home somewhere). Because when you launch into a movement some of the things that once seemed so important will be shown for what they are. It is hard to have water cooler conversations when the bullets are flying.
There is a movement afoot. It has been going on for some time but we have stood on the bank and watched the river rush past us, engaging in those same conversations and debates over and over again while our children wonder off into the woods. It is time to dive into the river and be swept up in God’s current. Where it takes us is for God to determine and for us to trust Him on.
What is the movement? Where has God already been working and preparing the soil?
It is a discipleship movement.
We have shunned it for fear of repeating the mistakes of the past. We branded others false teachers for abuses with discipleship and even the word makes some of us quite nervous. But people messing it up doesn’t make the concept unbiblical or unimportant.
Remember what C.S. Lewis told us, Aslan isn’t safe. Discipleship will challenge our current, institutional structures. That is sorely needed. This will cost our old systems something but like Jesus said,
“unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25 Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.”John 12:24-26
Allow me to take a few minutes to cast some vision, reflections on what I see happening. I want to map out what I see unfolding. This isn’t my vision. This isn’t my direction. I didn’t start it and I don’t get to direct it. But I want to be caught up in the middle of what God has already started and be faithful to the work He is calling us to.
First, we need to be re-taught discipleship from a biblical perspective. This will help us see discipleship as normal. We will see it as first-century and not late 20th century (Boston). With our culture and way of reading the Bible in Churches of Christ it will be essential to start off showing just how biblical this is.
If I can be blunt I believe discipleship is the most biblical thing we want nothing to do with.
Second, once we are convinced that this is biblical and something we should be doing I believe we will need to start into discussions that focus on how we can help each other grow closer to Jesus. This won’t be a program. This won’t be a 12 step plan. This won’t be a book (books will help but won’t be the solution. You can’t just read about it and think you did it). This will be organic. The only way for that to happen is for us to renew our concern for one another. I think that has been lacking in many ways.
Third, we will have to equip and encourage people. Once we start into these conversations we will figure out how to do them well and we can then teach others how to do it as well. This is where things move from addition to multiplication.
Once we equip people and others start doing this we have a change in our church culture where discipleship is just what we do. It is who we are. It is the primary way we see ourselves – followers of Jesus. Now we move from multiplication to exponents and growth really starts happening both internally and evangelistically.
So this is a call for us to get in tune with what God is doing. The more I have talked about this the more churches have reached out to me saying they are convinced this is what we must be doing. But we are all figuring out where to start.
We can and must help each other out – not as experts but as fellow disciples trying to find our way. We cannot move into the expert/hierarchical culture that has doomed these movements from the past. As Jesus said, there is only one teacher. He is not any of us. We are just helping each other out under submission to Christ’s authority and teaching.
I want church leaders to engage this conversation. I want ministers and elders to start praying about this and dreaming about this and please call me – 334-750-9919 or email me – email@example.com and let’s talk about how to do this together.
I am convinced that something dramatic is already happening in our fellowship (Churches of Christ) that has been long overdue. We have a generation ready to take this on and we will need to equip and encourage each other as we all get with other people and disciple each other. The leadership must lead by example on this (myself included) and not just tell others how to do it if/when we aren’t doing it ourselves.
Please join me in this conversation. Great things are ahead!