Friday, June 02, 2006

The Mechanism of Discpleship

A few links to old posts on method:
In Defense of Method

Discipleship 101

The Mechanism of Discpleship
In this post I would like to discuss the concept of mechanism. A mechanism is the tool in which the method is delivered. The combination of method and mechanism is necessary to effectively disciple. The mechanism of all discipleship is community. It is the community of believers and our relationships in the culture of the body of Christ through which the discipleship teachings of Jesus are delivered. The way of Jesus Christ is caught not taught. Or more precisely the mechanism for teaching is socialization in community. We learn by doing not by hearing. As we live together, we learn a new life and a new story of what it means to be truly human together.

This community life is the life of the small group of the home church.

The Mechanism of Discipleship is the Home Church.
I use the term home church as opposed to small group here only because we often have many preconceived notions concerning small group. To many of us we associate small group with something, we do once a week and which is primarily bible study. In this model, the sermon or academic method is used but the building is a home as opposed to an auditorium. The method is the same as the sermon. Because this model is not the model I am speaking of here, I refrain from using the term small group and instead use home church. The home church is the place where we live and accomplish mission together. The purpose of home church is community and mission and not just the dissemination of information. Home church is to mechanism for discipleship and discipleship is the learning of a new way of life which is based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. We learn this new and spiritual way of power and mission and love in the context of the family of home church. Though bible study happens in “home church”, the purpose of home church is not bible study but discipleship and mission. Home church is the mechanism of discipleship. If we are to use the term small group, I would qualify this and say the monastic and missional small group.

The Necessity of Immersion – The New Monastic
If anyone has ever attempted to change some aspect of their character or has struggled with addictions, then you understand how difficult change is. Discipleship is about this level of dramatic change of our approach to life. Loving our enemies, not worrying about tomorrow, ceasing to lust after the world, living in love and fearlessness is a totally new way of life. I find that I personally need to be encouraged every day if I am to maintain such a spiritual perspective. It is absolutely impossible to change alone. Instead what we need is total immersion in a new culture. This new culture is the home church.
(Note: By home church, I am not intending to imply something which necessarily excludes a traditional Sunday church celebration.)

Today, our home church only meets weekly, but I find for my own spiritual walk this is completely inadequate. I need total immersion. I have friends who are seeking to maintain their spiritual program and spiritual walk, and they find that they forget from week to week. They find that their spiritual life ebbs and flows. This experience is due to the lack of total immersion. If we are to bring freedom to people, we must be able to offer them total immersion in the life of the kingdom through the mechanism of the home church.

My goal is to provide for those who seek it both a method and a mechanism to enter into the kingdom of God – a truly happy and heavenly quality of life. That method is found in the Sermon on the Mount and the principles of discipleship and the mechanism is the home church or monastic and missional small group.

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