Building Christians or Equipping Ministers
I know that this may appear like I am splitting frog hairs. But there is a real issue here that I think that needs to be addressed.
To begin with, we admit and know for a fact that we are living in the most Biblically ignorant generation ever. People know less about the Bible than ever before. But why did this happen? Well there are a couple of reasons.
1) Some church growth gurus in the 80's said that Sunday School was dead (it wasn't) and that churches needed to move to small groups. Good idea except people didn't embrace the small group culture. Therefore, they didn't receive any discipleship.
2) Discipleship moved from the "what you need to know" to "what they want to know". Small groups were all about peoples needs. That in and of itself wasn't bad - but it shifted the goal of discipleship from fulfilling Ephesians 4: 11 - 13 "11 It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ." to a specialist ministry, addressing the needs of our culture.
Today, most discipleship is about building a better Christian. But when I read Eph. 4 I don't necessarily see that. What I see is a church building ministers. Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers reproducing themselves. What if we returned to that mandate? What if we disciple with the intent of producing people who will minister in their own culture?
Now what I am talking about isn't a "class" or a "convention" you attend. It isn't a "book" you can read. But it is a discipleship intensive process designed to equip you to enter your world, prepared to minister in the name of Jesus.
How would that change the church?