In Alan Danielson’s blog post today, he discusses “the most overrated church comment.” What is that comment? “I want to go deeper.” I totally agree, and I’d add a second, related comment: “I need to be fed.” I’ve heard both comments quite a bit. (People have even left our church and other churches, making these comments as they left.) Both comments illustrate a couple concerns in our churches: (1) consumerism and (2) a misunderstanding of spiritual maturity / discipleship.
Consumerism is a blight in our churches that emanates from our culture but really comes straight from the pits of hell. When the Enemy is able to get the church to think like consumers rather than as functioning members of the body of Christ who look not only to their own interests but also the interests of others, then he has destroyed authentic Bible community and the subsequent spiritual growth that happens in that community.
A misunderstanding of discipleship also leads the church to a very unhealthy condition which can hamstring its effectiveness. As Alan says in his blog, “I want to go deeper” usually means “Bible study” and, he says, “it reflects a person’s desire to be thought of as pious or spiritual.” Alan then gives three more accurate ways of viewing what it means to go deeper:
- Going deeper into my commitment to God’s Church
- Going deeper into my commitment to the world
- Going deeper into my commitment to being mastered by Christ
(Read Alan’s blog for more details on these.)
As I commented on Alan’s blog, I think this is another important element in (re)defining what discipleship in small groups means. The early church was committed to these three values, which caused them to make a huge impact on their world.
The greatest discipler ever was Jesus. He discipled his small group as he ministered to the world in the context of a community committed to one another. He taught them Biblical principles as they were ministering or in a debriefing shortly after ministry opportunities. My question: how can we do that today?
I have more to say on this topic, but I’ll save it for a separate post. Stay tuned!