Sunday, October 19, 2008

Discipleship - Exploring to Centered

I am off for a few days so I am catching up on my reading, blogs and otherwise. I was not able to attend this year's REVEAL Conference, presented by Willow Creek in response to their research from their REVEAL study but fortunately, through the power of the internet, I am able to read plenty of reaction. Out of Ur has a nice summary of one the sessions in which Bill Hybels spoke about some of the research in a way that clearly follows what we are doing at University. You can read the report here:

Live from REVEAL: Bill Hybels on Self-Centered Christians

At University, we talk about the journey of discipleship in three phases: No to New, New to True and True to Trained. These are paired with what goes on in these phases: A Jesus Meeting, Hearing the Jesus Message, and Discovering One's Jesus Mission. If you are following University this is review and if you have followed the work of REVEAL, the following is review, but look how the phases line up. REVEAL lays out groups in four levels: Those Exploring Christ (the seekers), Growing in Christ (beginning believers), Close to Christ, and Christ-Centered.

So this is nothing new. But, what is revealing is what Hybels considers the most difficult jump in stages: from Close to Christ to Christ-Centered. It is the jump from self-centered to completely Christ-centered. That is a pretty important point. It really gets at the root of the REVEAL findings that just participating does not make one a disciple.

Do this mental exercise: try to identify in your congregation two long-attending people who are both active, useful and knowledgeable. Think of one that would fit that definition of Christ-centered and one that you would consider self-centered. They are likely both people who have served on committees and been involved in many important things in the life of the church, but they are radically different people. Got them in your head? As a pastor, I can easily think of the two and I honestly like and appreciate both, but they are radically different. Here is the question: How did the Christ-centered person make the jump? If you know, you may hold a very important pieces of the pathway to discipleship. Let me know what you think.


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