April 19, 2006

something I've been reading

So you want to be a missionary and see some spontaneous expansion of the church?
Or are you simply feeling a bit unworthy of the task before you?

Now we cannot but observe that there is a great gulf between the training of leaders by Christ and the training of leaders in the hands of these men [the present authority]. Christ trained His leaders in two or three years; these men have been training leaders for more than two or three generations. Christ trained His leaders by taking them with Him as He went about teaching and healing, doing the work which they, as missionaries would do; we train in institutions. He trained a very few whom He was in the closest personal relationship; we train many who simply pass through our schools with a view to an examination and an appointment. Christ trained His leaders in the midst of their own people, so that the intimacy of their relation to their own people was not marred and they could move freely among them as one of themselves; we train in a hothouse, and their intimacy with their own people is so marred that they can never thereafter live as one of them, or share their thought. I have heard of students in theological colleges so ignorant of the religion of their own people that they had to be given lectures on it by foreign teachers. Thus, whether we consider the length of time devoted to the training, or the number of leaders trained, or the character of the training, or its manner, or its method, we perceive at once that the training of leaders of which we speak is something utterly different from that which we set up as the example [Jesus], and to which we appeal as the authority for our practice. – Roland Allen (written in the 1930s, published in 1962)

Certainly food for thought.

5 comments:

Steve S. said...

...so what is a practical way of discipling how Jesus did?

I would love to have my group with me 24-7, but that isn't a reality.

Should we start focussing on those who we are around? ...ignoring those in our sphere of responsibility?

Should we simply ask the people we are pouring into to make bigger sacrifices with their time to be with us?

Perhaps all of this and more...

Steve S. said...

PS I want to borrow this when you are done with it, you can have his Missionary Methods.

DeMar said...

You'll have to ask my neighbor for the book. He's been pretty easy going since that mayoral gig in Carmel is over, and freed up some of his time. And then the tongue and cheek response:

1) I would love to have my group with me 24-7, but that isn't a reality.
You will have your group with you Captain Commune.

2) Should we start focusing on those who we are around?
Yes, they are altogether easier to see.

2b) ...ignoring those in our sphere of responsibility?
Hmmm. Ignoring is a strong word leaning toward neglect or refusal to acknowledge, and responsibility suggests an obligation to answer for actions. Given our day and age we are in contact with an exponentially huge number of individuals. I can say, “I remember your face, but what’s your name?” and no one blinks and eye. We don’t live in a village in our particular brand of here and now. I think there’s lots of grey area here, except for the love part. Run fast alone, and run long together.

3)Should we simply ask the people we are pouring into to make bigger sacrifices with their time to be with us?
You can always ask. I’m not so sure where living in community becomes sacrifice anymore. But certainly we should be engaging on an intimate level, and walking through planned events and those weird times in between (aka Life). I would simply ask what the lines in the sand look like for you in living missionaly?

Steve S. said...

I am hoping that our grand experiment on the East Coast will move to answer some of these questions...

I strongly desire to see men and women living communally in such a way that discipleship simply "happens." This not without intentional action, yet, without the "institutions" that we are using to disciple.

We hope to focus our efforts on a specific geographical unit small enough to constitute its own (relatively) self-contained identity and community. It is this that I believe will allow us to do "life together" to a degree that will facilitate the type of influence Jesus had upon his disciples.

Sean said...

I want to ignore you both right now.
I say, "Come, follow me as I follow Christ."
They say, "but my schedule won't allow me that freedom."
I say, "Imitate me as I imitate Christ."
They say, "I'd have to change the way I live, my value systems, shop at second hand stores or Ross, turn off my cable, walk to work, eat more beans and rice, live without insurance or retirement, my parents are gonna' be pissed!"
I say, "Come hang out with me at Yaks."
They say, "Yeah, anyways...I heard about this great class over there on discipleship. I guess this just isn't working out for me. You're just so busy doing stuff."