decision point: local churches

Image credit: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo
Image credit: iqoncept / 123RF Stock Photo

Disciple making teams throughout Europe and North America must all answer the same question:

How will we relate to local churches?

There are three likely answers:

  1. We will equip local churches to implement disciple making movement strategies.
  2. We will recruit and train workers from local churches to implement disciple making movement strategies.
  3. We will implement disciple making movement strategies without intentionally engaging local churches.

I will be exploring the implications of each of these answers over the next few weeks. Before I begin, however, I want to hear from you!

Your turn:

Please let me know how your disciple making team relates to local churches by answering the following poll.

Share your thoughts and make it a conversation!

6 thoughts on “decision point: local churches

      1. I see three issues for historic churches…. 1) the legitimate concern to retain what is good and true in their historic identity 2) the frequent need to revitalize themselves in general and “disciple themselves” so they can begin to participate with disciple making movements, then the final question 3) how such congregations can participate.

        What we consider “venerable traditions” today such as reciting the Creed were – in an age without books and literacy – the culmination of teaching the narrative of the Bible and the “crown” so to speak of a profession resulting in Baptism. This was the “disciple making” that so affected the Roman Empire. How do we put them back in the context of a viable tradition of disciple making instead of letting them only have the status of “historical relic”? That’s the question!

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  1. This is going to be good (meaning, stimulating and helpful). Chuck Huckaby has already been working on the question of historic churches participating in Disciple Making Movements (see his comments above).

    Chuck, the three issues you identify for historic churches seem right on. And your mention of the value of historic identity and the significance of the creeds raises a strategic question: how can we use the creeds to make disciples of the lost?

    Some initial ideas:
    – spiritual conversation starters: what do you think about ….? These conversations can help us discern how God is at work in a person’s life.
    – discovery bible study themes: let’s see what the creeds say about the Bible, and what the Bible says about the creeds
    – ????

    Looking forward to ongoing interaction with you, Chuck, and with others!

    Kirk

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    1. Hi Kirk, first by “creed” I’m referring to the Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds, not longer confessions that are sometimes called “creeds”.

      The creeds developed from the “Kerygma” – those sermons where the apostles summarize the “Good News” as a historical unfolding of what God is doing/has done from the creation of the world to the coming of Jesus and spread of the kingdom.

      Historically the creed reached its peak use in “disciple making” in oral cultures where the printed Word was not readily available even after the Reformation. The local Bishop would teach “seekers” who sought to follow Christ (or at least learn about it) in the following manner. He would unfold the narrative of scripture from Creation to Christ (sound familiar?) It was more lecture than “discovery” I’d guess, though there was room for discussion. Could we go there, perhaps it would be similar to what we would experience in hearing a Bible Storyteller recount a story then field discussion. I can’t say. There are copies of such sermons so likely it was more sermon oriented than a “DBS”.

      The creeds were unwritten originally and after the seekers had been taken from “Creation to Christ” as they prepared for their baptisms, they were “given the creed” in the final stages. It would become their “profession of faith” and summarize the faith into which they were giving themselves in baptism.

      They were also taught to memorize other key scriptures like the “Summary of the Law” (Mt 22:37-40), the Lord’s Prayer, etc. and immersed in different scriptures and stories so they would have, essentially, an “oral Bible” to carry with them at all times.

      So the Creed functioned as a Bible Summary upon which to recall the narrative of scripture.

      I believe a good starting point for todays historic churches who still use the creed would be to learn (with as much “discovery” as possible!) that the “creeds” are nothing less than the result of a reflection on the scriptures from “Creation to Christ”.

      Of course someone could use a statement from the creed to spark a conversation to uncover a potential “person of peace”. But their original purpose was to be the believer’s own heartfelt confession and daily reminder that they lived in God’s Word where He had come to bring salvation and they functioned as part of an oral Bible.

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