We often talk about making disciples and multiplying missional communities. This is our vision and hope. We want to see disciples made and missional communities multiplied throughout Forsyth County. This process is slow—by design—and that is good. We want to invest in people by living life together while learning to connect the gospel to all aspects of life. In the “slowness” of disciple making, we can often lose sight of the purpose and power of gospel and begin to rely on human ability and creativity. We look for clean simple processes for moving people down the line of maturity and these are often based on some kind of external conformity. External conformity can be useful but the danger is that external conformity can happen without inward transformation of the heart.
Is there a place for measuring gospel growth based on external measurements? Yes. Jesus says, “you will know them by their fruit” (Matthew 7:20). But if we stop there, I think we will fall short of what it means to make disciples who make disciples. Making disciples is the process of leading others to increasingly submit all of life to the empowering presence and Lordship of Jesus. External conformity to a list of things we can measure is not sufficient in the process of making disciples, mainly because we can do these things without pouring our life out for the sake of others.
What if we pressed into more difficult questions—questions that are not easily measured—questions that can only be answered over time--questions pointing us toward internal transformation…
- Are all disciples being rooted in the gospel?
- Are disciples living out their gospel identity through everyday rhythms (all of life)?
- Are households within RCC properly ordered?
- What kind of family are we being?
- Are the relationships in our church family characterized by love, mutual acceptance, and respect?
- Are all disciples actively using their unique gifts in ministry?
- How many of our people know their neighbors and are they having them in their homes?
- Are people being equipped to minister through their work and in their workplace?
- Are there new disciples to baptize?
- Are our children seeing the church as a big family that gathers for worship or a building to gather for an event?
These questions need more consideration, but I invite our MCs to begin discussing them with one another and asking the Spirit to help us to love one another in Christ.