Can't get enough about books, music, and movies? Check out these wonderful and insightful posts from our editors. By signing up you enjoy subscriber-only access to the latest news, personalized book picks and special offers, delivered right to your inbox. We never share your information and you can unsubscribe at any time. Look at the love of God; begin to truly understand what is at the center of the church's foundation, commission, and direction; but most importantly, understand your role within the mission of God as you integrate love into all aspects of your missional calling.
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Engage with the Alibris Community Love shopping on Alibris? And, we are so glad you are a part of the blog tour. It was good to see you in Chicago and I hope to see you more now that I am on the faculty of Trinity. First, the type of discipling we advocate is relatively simple while deeply profound.
There is no need to discount other topics such as marriage, apologetics, or character studies; but the primary task of making a disciple of Christ is to lead that person to be on mission with Christ. We are convinced that people need more, not less, Biblical knowledge, but what many lack today is Jesus-shaped application.
In other words, we know much but live little at least in the evangelical subculture. Philip: One of the issues we point to in the book is the need for the church to engage in the mission of Christ together. On face value, this seems elementary.
But, we all know that many churches have stress fractures that prevent unity in relationships and purpose. When Ed and I planted together in Atlanta, we had a pretty theologically driven approach and our discipleship was built around practices. Another part of spiritual formation has been the emphasis on community. Dave Fitch : Excellent! Ed and Phillip, it seems like this kind of love, being embodied in our lives as you discuss, changes the very nature of our corporate existence in the world.
How does this love change the way we practice church? Would such a church look any different than say a Seeker Service mega- church, a traditional Baptist church?
What does your book mean for ecclesiology? Philip: Our practice of church is too often tied to self-satisfaction rather than redemptive mission. Love will cause us to abandon personal preferences which are short-sighted anyway for a sacrificial life which cares for the lost and hurting in a manner akin to Christ. Ed: Let me also add something that an old friend of mine once said.
If our ministry is built primarily on attracting people to the show, it is hard to get them to then love God and others on a mission. Missional living with love as a motivation should be able to operate in churches of every style and size, if they are willing to not make it about themselves. If, in reaching them, we make it all about them— well, it should not surprise us that they never move beyond a self-centered model. My hope is that churches are seeking to dig in with the truth and contextualize their communication methods — and both require a loving spirit.
Loving God supremely will cause us to stand for his truth. Loving our neighbors will help us to speak the truth clearly to them; even when it is inconvenient and with methodology that is not what we necessarily prefer. Philip: Ecclesiology is touched on within the book from a relational and missional perspective. Our ecclesiology, theology, and missiology should be tied together.
After all, how God reveals himself to us theology and how we engage others missiology should determine how we relate to one another ecclesiology. And, as you know, he has chosen love as a primary descriptor of himself. So, we have included a section in the book that gives an overview of a basic missional ecclesiology. Dave Fitch: That is extremely helpful!
You mention in the book the Lifeway Research about people seeing the church as judgmental and hypocritical. What are the roadblocks, theological and practical, that we pastors have to overcome in order to see God shape us away from this kind of judgemental hypocrisy and into living the gospel as a church in this way? Philip : For pastors, it often comes down to the simple matter of our own spiritual formation. Congregations take on the form of their leaders. The unnecessary hurdles which we the church place in front of the Gospel must be removed first in the lives of its leadership.
Ed: David, that research was pretty startling. I want people to get three things from it. They are not very profound because I am a simple person! They are: 1.