Saturday

New Beginnings

I went to a wedding today.  That in and of itself isn't all that interesting I don't guess.  If you are like me, then you have probably been to numerous weddings of family and friends and you have probably been part of one or two as well.  The wedding that I went to today wasn't remarkable in any noticeable way.  It wasn't the biggest wedding I have been to (actually probably one of the smaller weddings I have attended), it wasn't the longest or the shortest, and really nothing about it from the outside looking in made it significantly different from any of the weddings I have attended or been a part of over the years.

So why then, you may be asking, am I spending time on a Saturday afternoon writing about it?

Because more than any other wedding I have been apart of, this wedding stands out as an example of the grace and love of Christ.  Both the bride and groom had been married before and now, through the providence of God working through various circumstances, they had been brought together at our church.  They are growing in Christ and now have a chance to make a new life together.

What better picture of the gospel is there?  The gospel affords us the opportunity to forget about our live before Christ and look forward to a new life in Him.  He washes away everything in our past including our very heart and gives us a clean, new beginning through the blood He shed for us on the cross.

As I watched my two friends say their vows and begin their new life, I couldn't help but think that it was the grace and blood of Christ that makes new beginnings like that possible.


Wednesday

Collaboration in the Church

I want Northside to be this kind of church.  The kind that helps other churches in our community.  The kind that is more interested in the kingdom of God than the kingdom of Northside.

Watch this:


Tuesday

Who Are We Making Disciples Of?

Go to your local christian bookstore or get online at your favorite christian book retailer and it won't take long to find a book or a curriculum about discipleship.  There may not be quite as many discipleship products as there are church growth products, but there are still plenty out there.  I think that having a good book on discipleship or having a good curriculum if you are teaching on discipleship are good things.  I have a couple of books on my shelf that I turn to now and again to remind me of discipleship concepts that otherwise I might forget.  These tools are not, however, the most important thing when it come to making disciples.  Not even close.  I think one of the most important things to understand when it comes to making disciples (and we are all called to make disciples, remember Matthew 28:19-20?) is what I call the principle of reproduction.  It is very simple and very important to always remember.

You reproduce what you are.

No amount of training, books, or curriculum is going to change this simple concept.  You will always reproduce what you are.  What does that mean for us as individuals and churches as we seek to carry out the Great Commision?

As individuals it means that if we want to make disciples of Jesus Christ we have to be disciples of Jesus Christ.  We can't be disciples of John Piper or Matt Chandler or Mars Hill church.  We have to be fully devoted to Christ and His Word alone.

As churches that means in order to make disciples of Christ we must have disciples of Christ leading our ministries.  We must be good at equipping and finding mature, devoted followers of Christ to lead our ministries.  No amount of programming, curriculum, or planning will allow us to overcome the principle of reproduction.  

We reproduce what we are?  We are reproducing something, both individually and as churches.  We are making disciples both individually and as churches.  

Who are we making disciples of?  Who are we reproducing in others? Ourselves?  A pastor we admire? A church we really like?

Or are we making disciples of Jesus.

Monday

What Is Discipleship?

After a week at the beach (oil free, thankfully), I am back in the office today.  Now that I am overseeing the adult ministries here at Northside, my biggest focus is discipleship.  The main question I am trying to answer is how do you take a process that looks different for everyone and turn it into something that can be organized and structured at a church wide level.

I don't think you can systematize discipleship to the point that if everyone just takes these certain series of classes or meets x-times a month with their mentor then you can guarantee success.  On the other hand, if there isn't some structure to the process, then there really is no way to implement it systematically on a church wide level.  What then is the answer?

I don't have a complete answer for that question yet.  I am praying and working towards an answer and I believe making some progress as far as what that looks like for Northside.  The first step is to identify what makes up a fully devoted, mature follower of Christ.  Knowledge is one component of the life of a disciple.  Knowledge of the Word, of who God is, and of what the bible says about our world.  I think community is a key component as well.  Having a group of people who know you intimately and who can encourage you, correct you, pray for you, etc. is crucial to growing in Christ. I think that eventually in order to become all that God would have you become, you must become a discipler as well as a disciple.  You must begin to pass on the things God has given you to others.  Reproduction is another key component of the maturing disciple.

The real difficulty lies in discovering a way to provide access to all these components while allowing enough flexibility for the individual to incorporate them into his life in a way that works and is effective for him.  While I may not have all the answers yet (and in truth may never find the absolute best answer), I do know a couple of things for sure.

1. People don't become disciples by accident.  If we, as church leaders, don't set expectations and provide a plan, then it probably won't happen.

2.  While the answers may be difficult to find, they are more than worth fighting for.  If we want our churches to be effective in impacting people for the kingdom, then we have to put in the time and effort to seek these answers.


And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.
                                                             --Ephesians 4:11-16



That is my goal for The Church at Northside.  A body of believers that is growing into the fullness of Christ, that is able to discern the truth from a lie, and that is able to build itself up in love so that we may be able to make a difference in Rome, Georgia with the gospel of our Lord.