Feb 24, 2022
This Reformation Era has adopted a definition of discipleship that assumes infusing the full scriptures, Genesis to Revelation, into the minds of Christians. And as wonderful as that is, it is not what Jesus actually told us to do.
#JesusStories: During the ascension, Jesus left the Great Commission ringing in our ears (Mt 28:19-20), “Go and make disciples, teaching them to obey “What I taught you.” What did he just say? What was the content Jesus left for us to use? He left us with teachings embedded in a collection of stories: some he told and some he lived. Similarly, in the parable about the house built on sand verses the house built on rock found in Mt 7:24-27, Jesus elevated “his words” as the only foundational material that people can confidently build their life upon. He did not leave us with an Apostles Creed, a Romans Road outline, a series of discipleship classes around the Bible bases, or any other construct of spirituality drawn from the 66 books of the Bible. He left us with a collection of stories from his life, and told us to use them in the making of disciples.
Now don’t get me wrong, I have been blessed by the Apostles Creed and many other discipleship patterns based on scripture. And though the Canon we hold today was not compiled until 367 AD by the church father Athanasius, I still hold it as the Holy and Inspired Word of God. However, we must take note that Jesus told us to do something different than studying a thick book of scriptures and calling it disciple-making. Discipleship to Jesus meant teaching his words, his stories, his behaviors, and his life. This means that the Jesus Stories are the most important and powerful portions of the scriptures to be used in forming actual Christlike disciples. Here is an interesting leadership question: What if we took Jesus’ instructions at face value, and honestly made disciples with the material he told us to use? Scary Huh?
*Popular evangelical theology comes from the Epistles, but it needs to come from the Gospels. (David Olson)
*Reading the Gospels through the Epistles creates a disturbing distortion; the Gospels are not be taken as a serious prescriptive for life, mission, and discipleship. (Alan Hirsch)
#PracticalStuff: This year our pastors in Seattle have felt compelled to start adding weekly prayer-walks to our dinner church gatherings. This week, while on a prayer-walk through one of our neighborhoods with several leaders, I sensed The Spirit walking beside us on those sidewalks in a HUGE way. When we compared notes afterwards, we all knew that we were dispelling the uprising kingdom of darkness with every step, and in its place ushering the Inbreaking Kingdom of Jesus into that neighborhood. Our spirits could feel darkness backing up and light flooding in. At its core, that is the theology of the historic prayer-walk. How long has it been since you’ve taken your team for a prayer-walk throughout your neighborhood to change the atmosphere around your dinner church? Jesus hasn’t only given you a room full of people to influence, he has also given you the neighborhood where they live. Prayer walk anyone?
Blessings & Boldness,
Dr. Verlon and Melodee Fosner have led a multi-site Assemblies of God Dinner Church in Seattle, Washington since 1999 (www.CommunityDinners.com). In this decade when more churches in the U.S. are declining than thriving, and when ninety-six churches a week are closing, Verlon and Melodee sensed that a different way of doing church was needed for their 97-year old Seattle congregation. It soon became obvious that they were not the only ones in need of a different path. They joined the FX team in 2016 and founded the Dinner Church Collective. And then in 2019 founded the Dinner Church School of Leadership. There is a lot to be gained when church leaders begin to see open doors in the American landscape that they had previously overlooked. Therein lies the journey for those who will forge a new future for the American Church.