Myself, my wife and several members of our church, One Direct Community are in a 10 month process of going though 100movements Leap Year training where we are spending time unpacking what it is to be disciples of Christ and what is required to create a culture of discipleship in the church. So this subject is ever circulating in my mind. I was in the Waffle House yesterday morning talking to a waitress. A man walked in and sat down at the other end of the counter. The waitress walked over to him, took his order, poured his some coffee, the came back to where I was sitting . She asked me if I knew the man and I said no. She said you should get to meet him because he is “A Good Christian.”
At hearing the words, “A Good Christian,” my discipleship mindset kicked in. What is a “Good Christian?” We in the church both hear and and say that phrase when people are described. “You need to take your car to get worked on by Bill, he’s a “good Christian.” Or “Your child is lucky to get Ms. Sally as their teacher at the school, she is a “good Christian.” We say and hear it all the time, but what does that mean? Does being a good Christian equate to being a disciple of Christ? How are the characteristics and competenciesthat a person exhibits through the lens of the church the same and/or different than the those exhibited as a disciple of Christ through the eyes of Jesus? Is a church creating those they describe as good Christians, the same a church creating those Jesus would describe as his disciples?
See, I went to church consistently for the first 16 years of my life. I was a “Good Christian.” The church baptized me, taught me the creeds, taught me the liturgies, confirmed me, taught me the seasons and rhythms of the church, and taught me when to stand up, sit down, and kneel. I was awarded and accepted or my ability to jump through these hoops. I knew the Scriptures but I did not know Jesus. The church never discipled me, It did not have an apprenticeship process, but gave me lots of information and class room settings. It never invested the time walking me through my garbage, creating places where I had to confront Jesus, had to confront what needed healed, confronted what needed loved, so I never fell in love with Jesus. When I was 18, I chunkedthe church in the trash. It wasn't until 7 years later, around the age of 25 because of some "God" events, that I began slowly returning to church again. And I once again began doing the "good Christian” things of going to church services, singing the right songs, attending class rooms andjumping through hoops again. I was again a "good Christian." Yet I was still an unhealed, white washed tomb. It wasn't until I was 34 that I encountered someone who made me realize that it is not about the service, the songs, the hoops, or my comfort, but confronted me about becoming open and honest before God, confrontedmy “good Christian” life as compared to a life of a disciple of Christ:, confronted me and took the time to mentor me like Jesus would.
If I asked you Identify between 8-10 core character traits and 8-10 core competencies that represent the radical minimum standard for every disciple of Jesus, what would you say they are? Characters and competencies that are simple, repeatable, transferrable and scaleable. The minimum standards a disciple needs to be fairly competent possessing.. Example: I would say one would be being able to self-feed in the Bible. Have the ability to open the Bible and be fairly competent in relating its words into your life. One that would not be such a minimum competency is having the ability to read the New Testament ini ts original Greek text. Though that would be good to learn and lead to deeper discipleship, it is not a minimum competency that is easily reproducible or scalable.
Then think, What is the process by which someone intentionally grows in each? The How? How will they develop these minimum competencies and characters? Have you developed these characters and competencies? What is in place in your life, your church now, or needs to be created that will instill these? Also, what are you doing that is not developing these, and why then are you doing them?
What tools may help reaffirm and cultivate each of the characters and competencies? Do you possess them? Does your church possess them? If not, where do you find them?
How are you provided support & accountability for growing in these areas? How are you providing support and accountability to others to grow in these areas?
Jesus is constantly trying to find out who really wants to be his disciple. And so he keeps pushing and prodding and questioning and putting it out there until some leave and the diehards stay. The churches I attend in my past did not do this, but also left the “good Christian” option open to me.
I’d love your thoughts, reflections, prayers and questions on this in the comment box below for us to discuss.