Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Four Story House of Discipleship

One of the most striking deficiencies in the church today is our seeming inability to deliver the kingdom life to our community members. The gospel promises us that the kingdom of God is within our reach. The kingdom is a life that is striking in it's moral distinction. The beautiful and distinct life that is the kingdom is rarely experienced in our churches. Of course, there are numerous reasons for this deficiency including a stunning lack of understanding of the teachings of Jesus and the process through which Jesus leads us into the kingdom life. I call the teachings of Jesus, the wine.
While the teachings are the wine, the diagram above is an illustration of the wineskin. 
The wineskin is the system of institutionalized practices that enables the community to deliver the wine of the teachings of Jesus to the individual. The institutional practices described in this illustration accomplish the task of immersing the members in the words of Jesus and the presence of God. Thus, the foundational concept that this illustration rests on is the reality that the community member needs to be totally immersed in the word and spirit in order to be socialized into this new way of life. Needless to say, these practices are almost impossible to institutionalize in the context of 21st century life. 
The ground up process. 
The other key to this illustration is that the various practices are both synergistic and sequential. The lower layers are more foundational and fundamental than the upper layers (sequential), but in order to perfect the lower layers, we need the assistance of the upper layers (synergistic). The life of private devotion is most important in the life of the believer but the other modes of relationships are necessary to grow in these private disciplines. 

In this blog and in ministry in general, the ultimate goal is to build Morally Beautiful Community. To accomplish this task requires both institutional practices, the wine of the teachings of Jesus, and the power of the Gospel of grace. Hope against hope. One day at a time. 

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