Ever buckle down and come up with your firm opinion about how discipleship really happens? Four years ago I put my thoughts together in an article called Top 10 Things I Need to Know about Discipleship. That title wasn’t a misprint or a mistake. They really were 10 things I needed to know.
In some ways the article was prescient. Over the last several years I’ve found myself more than once cautioning against what I believe are misunderstandings of how discipleship happens and how disciples are made.
A few days ago I had a comment on an article I wrote a couple years ago. In 10 of the Most Overused Small Group Ministry Buzzwords I listed 10 of the phrases that I think are used in a way that betrays a misunderstanding of an underlying truth. For example, the first buzzword I list is the phrase “disciples who make disciples.” Ever used that phrase? I included the phrase because as I understand the meaning of that word, you’re probably not actually a disciple if you’re not making disciples.
Another buzzword that I included in my list two years ago was “missional community.” Why include it? Because the way it was being used betrayed a misunderstanding of an underlying truth. Missional community was never used in its origin to describe the size of the group or convey that the group met somewhere in the community. Instead, missional community was used in its origin to describe the function and primary activity of a group.
I love a paragraph from The End of Discipleship As We Know It, a recent article by Hugh Halter:
“From my experience, the best leadership development happens in a missional community. A missional community is a group of friends who intentionally band together around a certain mission, who live in close proximity and who rhythm their lives together around kingdom life.”
That, to me, is the actual meaning of missional community. Not the size of a group or where it meets. Instead, it’s about the purpose of a group and the way they “rhythm their lives.”
That is also how I think virtually all small groups should function. Not just those groups that desire to go further or are ready to go further.
Why? Because it is how discipleship really happens. Just like Jesus taught His disciples to do everything He did. He didn’t use a classroom approach. He spent time with them and taught them by observation and practice how to do effortlessly what He would do if He were them.
- Dallas Willard on the Meaning of a Mature Disciple
- Top 10 Things I Need to Know about Discipleship
- 10 of the Most Overused Small Group Ministry Buzzwords
- What Have You Designed Your Groups to Make?
- The End in Mind for My Ideal Small Group
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