So far, we have presented our fundamental mission as moving people from the ‘fringe’ to the ‘core’ and from the ‘world’ to the core. In this post, we’ll begin to explore how we might do that. Before we begin, let me say that while many of these terms may sound familiar, you will see in the next few posts that we’re going to land on an approach is that quite unique. The drive toward a unique approach is not simply to be different but because I believe that if the current techniques were working, we would not be getting worse instead of better.
Let’s begin with a reminder that while God sees the black and white lines between “believer” and “non-believer”, we cannot. To other people, it is a continuum of people who range from the obvious “non-believer” (world) to the obvious “believer” (core), with a wide variation between the two. An obvious “believer” might be the apostle Paul or Billy Graham; and obvious “non-believer” would be anyone who does not profess belief in Jesus Christ (regardless of how good their behavior is). The rest of us fall somewhere in between…we profess Jesus as Lord, but we either have not actually been spiritual born (i.e. we profess Jesus as Lord for social reasons and not because we actually want to follow him) or we have not “grown” spiritually to the point of, say, an apostle Paul. More accurately, we have not grown to the point of being just like Christ (the perfect human and standard for all of us), in a spiritual sense.
And so, our charter is to a) challenge people in the ‘world’ end of the spectrum to profess Jesus as Lord (spiritual birth); b) ensure that the ‘fringe’ understands what it really means to follow Christ as a genuine believer (maybe spiritual birth; maybe first steps of growth); and c) challenge, encourage, and support all those who profess genuine faith in Christ to move toward the ‘core’ end of the spectrum (spirit growth).
What is the technique that we use to accomplish these goals? This is where we’ll spend most of our time in the next several posts. Right now, I’ll set it up by simply saying that the technique varies per person. Where the person is squarely within the ‘world’, pure evangelistic (or apologetic) techniques are appropriate. Where the person is squarley within the ‘core’, pure discipleship techniques are appropriate. Where the person is somewhere in between, a personalized mix of evangelistic and discipleship techniques are appropriate.
If you are interested to hear further on a unique approach, specifically targetted at discipleship and enabled by community and technology, keep checking back!