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The Dilemma of Discipleship in a Performance Culture

The Dilemma of Discipleship in a Performance Culture

Natalie Runion

The Dilemma

It is much harder to make disciples than performers.  I know this because I’ve been both and I can assure you the stage is much more glamorous than the field.

The performers are plentiful but the platforms are few…wait that’s not right.  The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Could it be we’d rather glow under lights and sequins than sweat?

The draw of going to a theater is that people love a good character and plot but are quick to critique the vulnerability of a gift we’re learning how to use.  If we never connect with those we lead and they show up to watch us perform on a stage at a distance, the less likely we are to get hurt.

The Debate

The Church, in our attempt to carry a Gospel that needs no theatrics has tried to make Jesus the main character.  In order to do this successfully, we have to teach people how to run with batons and not microphones.

If we can give anything to the next generation it has to be discipleship and mentorship.  They won’t want it, they have watched us chase like and followers as we fan-girl over Christian celebrities, but we started this madness and it’s time to course correct.

It’s time to admit we’ve made ministry look like The Greatest Showman but the only similarity is the smoke and mirrors.

The Desert

Discipleship prepares those we lead for the desert.  Mentorship leads them through the wilderness and when they emerge they will have been with Jesus, their audience of One, ready for their next assignment.

It seems obvious; Go and make disciples.  This generation is watching what we value, what we post on social media, who we champion as a Church and culture.  They are paying attention to who we elevate and who we celebrate.

My question for those of us leading in any capacity in the local church is, do we as the body of Christ value discipleship as much as performance?

Take a minute…

Spend some time in Matthew today.  Just as God provided the workers in the field in this scripture, he is preparing others to work beside you as you disciple and train up the next generation of leaders.

Matthew 10:1-8  

See Also

The prayer was no sooner prayed than it was answered. Jesus called twelve of his followers and sent them into the ripe fields. He gave them power to kick out the evil spirits and to tenderly care for the bruised and hurt lives. This is the list of the twelve he sent:

Simon (they called him Peter, or “Rock”), Andrew, his brother, James, Zebedee’s son, John, his brother, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Matthew, the tax man, James, son of Alphaeus, Thaddaeus, Simon, the Canaanite, Judas Iscariot (who later turned on him).

Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:

“Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously.”

Pray this with me…

Thank you, Jesus, for trusting me with your people and your Church. Please forgive me for the times I have been a performer rather than a worshiper, a consumer rather than a servant and the times I’ve treated your sons as daughters as an audience.  I want to make disciples.  I want to work beside my brothers and sisters in Kingdom work, please give me a passion to lead others deeper in their relationship with you.  Give me a heart for discipleship, a deeper understanding of who you are and a close walk with you that I may lead others deeper into your presence.  Amen.

 

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