Tyranny of the Good

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I recently read David Platt's latest book, Radical Together: Unleashing the People of God for the Purpose of God, last week.  As I mentioned in my review of the book, it centers around 6 main ideas.  I found myself becoming pretty excited as I read through the book for a couple of reasons.  One, I think David has hit on some significant ideas that shape how we currently do church.  Second, some of these ideas he mentions are ideas that I have talked with other pastors and friends about even before reading Radical Together and it is always exciting to see someone smarter than yourself come to some of the same conclusions as you have.

The first idea that Platt mentions is one that weighs heavy on my heart as well.  It is the idea that all too often the church engages in so many good things, that is does not have the time or other resources to do what is best.

What is best?

Best is teaching and training individual followers of Jesus how to make reproducing disciples.  But how much time and energy do we really spend on doing this?

Take a few minutes and peruse the latest greatest church leadership blogs out there and what you will find is:

-how to make your Sunday worship experiences appealing to the unchurched
-how to recruit volunteers
-how to increase giving
-how to encourage creativity among your staff and leaders

What you will have a difficult time finding is how to train your people as individual followers of Jesus to make disciples.  We spend a great deal of time, money, and other resources on teaching people how to be better spouses, better parents, better handlers of money, etc.

And none of those things are wrong.  They are good.  But they aren't best.  Best is making disciples who make disciples who make disciples who......you get the idea.  We usually don't even ask our people to pass on the marriage, parenting, and financial teaching we give them.  We just ask them to tell others to come to our classes and programs so the church leadership can teach them.

What really makes this issues weighty for me is realizing how much of our resources we spend in the pursuit of the good.  It cost money to implement all these programs whose impact all too often never goes beyond the first generation of people in them.  So to reach the next generation with the same principles requires more money to duplicate the program for them.  More books, more DVDs, more workbooks, etc.  Why do we spend so much money and time on a strategy that constantly demands more time, more money, etc.  Is that really what the Scriptures call us to?  Is there another option?

The other option is people sharing with other people the glory of Christ.  That doesn't take much money.  It just takes people who are passionate about Jesus, His Word, and the spread of His glory to all nations.  We don't need fancy curriculum to produce these kind of world changing disciples.  We just need people who are willing to teach the Word of God to others as they try to live out their own lives as disciples.

Our job, our mandate, as followers of Jesus Christ is to make disciples. Not just the leaders in the church but all followers of Jesus are commanded to be disciple makers. It doesn't take big budgets and professional curriculum to do that.

I am not saying that programs and curriculum and the like are bad.  The question isn't are they good or bad.

The question is are they the best.

Do they teach people to be reproducing disciples of Jesus Christ?

How is your church doing in this area?

How are you and I doing?