Kingdom Living

The Future of Spiritual Formation (Houston Heflin)

August 20th, 2008 · No Comments · Christianity, Church, Church of Christ, Equipping, Ministry, Religion

Thanks to guest blogger Houston Heflin for these challenging thoughts:

The world is changing in ways that leave us with one of two choices in Christian discipleship: move our teaching outside the walls of the classroom or bring the outside into our teaching.

Everything from our terminology to our practice needs to be challenged if we are going to connect with people in this culture. Have you noticed what’s different? Sitting through a lecture is taboo while active learning is ubiquitous. The mindset of modernism is waning while the preoccupation with postmodernism is seizing its day in secular society. Technology is advancing; advertisements are shouting; attention spans are diminishing; commitments are flailing.

These changes could spell crisis for the church that is unwilling to acknowledge their influence. On the other hand, opportunity awaits those who would engage these challenges.

So let’s not make the mistake of binding the concept of education (or discipleship) to that which happens in the confines of chairs and rows and walls. Our Teacher taught us better than that. While traditional education has an important place in this culture and has influenced the formation of many people, there is more to discipleship than Bible class.

What aspects of spiritual formation (discipleship) are best taught inside and outside of a classroom setting?

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  • markharrell

    Do you think that George Barna and Frank Viola have pretty much nailed why the “church” is failing in its commission to reproduce disciples (not the rhetoric of “discipleship”, but real discipleship) in their new book: Pagan Christianity..

    We have lost the relationship of what it means to be the church in our culture. It is not, nor has it ever been, the four walls of a building (thanks anyway, Constantine). The SHACK is great in unmasking this in a fictional setting too.

    If we don’t produce Neo’s like Morpheus did (in the Matrix Trilogy), we will never recover.

  • mattdabbs


    I think you are right on track with the need to evaluate our approaches. This is especially true of urban and suburban churches as the world becomes more and more unchurched. The Gospel doesn’t change but the way it is packed can certainly have some upgrades from time to time.

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