Over the past few years, I have become acutely aware of what may be one of the greatest problems confronting the church today: We have large numbers of people who enjoy attending church and small groups, love great worship, and serve in ministries, but do not have a personal relationship with Jesus. In a very real sense, they live the “Christian” life without Jesus. People need pastors, teachers and leaders like us to equip them. Yet if they connect to us without connecting in loving union (i.e. abiding/remaining) with Jesus, we are simply rearranging chairs on the Titanic. The churches’ effectiveness in bearing lasting fruit to impact our world for Christ will be short-lived. In this podcast I share my reflections on this massive problem and what we can do to equip our people to create space to allow God’s will and presence full access in every area of their lives. LISTEN HERE Join. Read more.
A few years ago, a Christian publisher strongly recommended we reduce EHS discipleship into four, one-hour sessions because that was all that most American Christians can handle. “Let’s keep it simple,” many pastors and leaders argue. “If your people attend weekend services, participate in a small group and serve, that is all you can expect.” People are not experiencing deep transformation in our churches. Large numbers of people live off other people’s spirituality (e.g. worship teams, sermons, Christian radio and podcasts) and do not intentionally cultivate their own personal relationship with Jesus. We now have tens of thousands of believers in Jesus who are not necessarily disciples. And we continue to work day and night to add to this number. This raises a number of questions: Can a person be a Christian without being a disciple who makes daily, intentional choices to follow Jesus and remain/abide with Him? Can a nominal Christian who has. Read more.
The explosion of change (e.g. the impact of new technologies) is happening so fast in Western culture that it is difficult to get perspective on its long-range impact in our churches. Willow Creek’s Reveal study, released in 2008, demonstrated conclusively that people are not experiencing spiritual transformation in our churches. Now seven years later, another comprehensive, multi-phase research study on The State of Discipleship in the United States has been released by the Barna Group. Their findings confirm the continuing crisis around discipleship. The study is so important that I want to highlight a few applicable points for you to consider: Only 1% of church leaders say “today’s churches are doing very well at discipling new and young believers.” Few believe churches – their own or others –are excelling in this area. Participation in discipleship activities (e.g. Sunday school, spiritual/mentoring group Bible study) is weak – as low as 20% in our churches. The. Read more.