Thursday, May 6, 2010

Spiritual Formation - making disciples

Many whom God has, the church does not have; and many whom the church has, God does not have. Karl Rahner, theologian, parodying St Augustine

Who is the target of most of our communication of the gospel? Who are we seeking to reach? Some churches or ministries are 'seeker-driven', fashioning their approach to bring and effectively speak to secular individuals. They seek to reach unchurched non-Christians and turn them into devoted followers of Christ. [Often includes the so-called mega churches such as Willow Creek, Saddleback and Bayside Covenant to mention a few.] Sometimes the focus is unchurched Christians -those who claim a relationship with Jesus, but are not committed to any group of believers. [These often are smaller more intimate churches, or “house churches”.] Another concern would be reaching churched unbelievers, individuals who attend a place of worship but for whatever reason remain untouched by the Gospel. Then there are many churches whose main target, whether they want to admit it or not, is churched Christians. The content, language and style of all we present should be appropriate to our intended audience. [These last two are often found together, and include many (most?) of the mainline denominational churches, including Roman Catholic.]

All of these churches eventually conclude that they must eventually teach on spiritual disciplines if they desire to see true disciples of Jesus Christ formed in their midst. Yes, spiritual formation is the work of the Holy Spirit, but we must be willing participants in that work. And, knowing “how” to participate is the teaching task of the church. I am personally thankful for Renovare and all its resources and authors who have been an immense help to me, (now, if I can just help my church focus on spiritual formation . . . helping God make disciples for His Son.)

Only by Grace,


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