Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Just Do It

It has been estimated that there are some 450,000 congregations representing 38,000 different denominations in the United States. These churches bring in $36 billion a year. Out of that total an estimated $5.5 billion is spent on programs to develop spiritual growth. Add to that all the books in Christian bookstores that show how to be a better Christian, and the radio and television programs that offer teaching on maturity. Young people in churches grow up memorizing Scripture, reading Scripture, and learning all the Bible stories. They go to Sunday School, VBS, and summer camps where knowledge is pumped into them. Yet, there is a disconnect between all the things that Christians learn in church and other venues, and what Christians do in their day-to-day.

I have coached sports for almost thirty years. Before that, I played a number of different sports. I have read many books on playing techniques and skills, and read books and articles, and attended clinics on coaching. There are certain aspects of many sports about which I could tell you anything you wanted to know. But that knowledge would be useless if I had never done those things that I learned about. I can know all the facts about how to shoot a basketball, but if I never practiced shooting, I would never be able to make a basket, let alone teach someone else how to shoot. The things I have read about coaching, and the clinics I have attended would mean nothing if I had never actually gone on the court and coached. It is through the experience gained by playing and coaching that I am able to teach others.

Discipleship is the same way. We have turned making disciples into a program where we impart information, or try to ensure correct belief about certain doctrines. Week after week, folks sit in churches and dutifully takes notes on lectures about living the Christian life. Parts of Scripture are dissected, and studied in order to "understand" them. There is a great deal of knowledge gained, yet how much of that knowledge is put into practice. How many husbands practice Paul's admonition to love their wives as Christ loved the church? How many Christians in general really seek to love God with every fiber of their being, and love their neighbor as themselves? How many folks are willing to lay their lives down for others? When the world looks at the church, does it say, "Look how these Christians love each other?"

I believe it's time we put some of our books and sermons away. It's time we put a moratorium on Scripture memorization and learning Bible stories. Instead, let's start taking what we already know and start putting it into practice. We have enough to get us started with the Great Commandment and the Great Commission. Just do it.

4 comments:

Kansas Bob said...

Good thoughts Fred. I often wonder if we should do a way with the term disciple as a verb and substitute mentor for it.

AmyW said...

Very true...I wonder if we rely on the scripture memorization and Christian themed books because ultimately....we control those outcomes. I think it is subtle and gives a person a sense of "doing something" good.

I'm guilty of everything you mention in your post and I agree that it is time to take what we know and put it into practice. Working with people gets messy and often leads to hurt and disillusionment. I think that is why we stay inside the safe confines of the *sanctuary*. (deliberate choice of word)

co_heir said...

Bob, mentor might be a better term. I think we also need to redefine disciple as a noun and get back to the original.

Amy, you are so right. It is easier for us to gather information about following Jesus than it is to actually follow him. Like you said, it does get messy.

Jamey said...

So true...

Fear

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