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Sunday, January 18, 2015

What is the difference between a church member and a disciple

We had our leadership retreat this weekend (it is called a Vestry in our tradition). Over the years we have had numerous approaches, like many things in my life, I have downsized as I get older. The approach Friday night and Saturday morning was very basic. We prayed over the daily readings, we had quiet time with one of the readings, we had a time for small group discussion and a large group sharing. The next day I asked one question, "What is your goal for the coming year." One goal. Get it done. Success!

The reading for the day was the call of Levi in Mark's Gospel. 
"Come follow me," Jesus said.

Church leaders think about church and worry about church. Questions tend to center around "What do we need?" Churches want to increase income, increase ministries, increase volunteers. "We need" is a church focused approach.

Learning from Jesus, following Jesus, relationship with Jesus, obedience to Jesus is what discipleship is all about. Being a disciple centers on what Jesus wants.

What is the difference between being a disciple and being a church person? Focal point. The focal point of a church member is the church. It is an organization. The focal point of a disciple is (following) Jesus. Now, there are some who think the two are exclusive, which is false. IF I am a disciple then I am a church member. Jesus' followers are called 'the church.' However, it is possible to be in the church, even active in the church, and not be a disciple. Churches are institutions and like Rotary or the Garden Club one can be very involved (even to award winning levels) without a personal commitment to the core of the institution. As someone said to me Friday, lots of teachers don't like kids. Anyone who has ever done something they hate knows that.

SO where are you with Jesus? If you are centered on Him, churchgoing is part of the deal. It, however, you are involved in the church it is not enough. He is Lord. Focus on Him!

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