Yesterday, we examined an excerpt of a section of David Platt’s book Radical where he asked us if we are receivers or reproducers. In the following sections, Platt asks if we are discipling or disinfecting. As you read, notice which one requires actually making connections to others and which one does not.
Making disciples by going, baptizing, and teaching people the Word of Christ and then enabling them to do the same thing in other people’s lives—this is the plan God has for each of us to impact nations for the glory of Christ.
This plan seems so counterintuitive to our way of thinking. In a culture where bigger is always better and flashy is always more effective, Jesus beckons each of us to plainly, humbly, and quietly focus our lives on people. The reality is, you can’t share life like this with masses and multitudes. Jesus didn’t. He spent three years with twelve guys. If the Son of God thought it necessary to focus his life on a small group of men, we are fooling ourselves to think we can mass-produce disciples today. God’s design for taking the gospel to the world is a slow, intentional, simple process that involves every one of his people sacrificing every facet of their lives to multiply the life of Christ in others.
But we resist this plan, resorting to performances and programs that seem much more “successful.” In our Christian version of the American dream, our plan ends up disinfecting Christians from the world more than discipling Christians in the world. Let me explain the difference.
Disinfecting Christians from the world involves isolating followers of Christ in a spiritual safe-deposit box called the church building and teaching them to be good. In this strategy, success in the church is defined by how big a building you have to house all the Christians, and the goal is to gather as many people as possible for a couple of hours each week in that place where we are isolated and insulated from the realities of the world around us. When someone asks, “Where is your church?” we point them to a building or give them an address, and everything centers around what happens at that location.
Discipling is much different.
Whereas disinfecting Christians involves isolating them and teaching them to be good, discipling Christians involves propelling Christians into the world to risk their lives for the sake of others. Now the world is our focus, and we gauge success in the church not on the hundreds or thousands whom we can get into our buildings but on the hundreds or thousands who are leaving our buildings to take on the world with the disciples they are making.
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