What Are We Aiming For…?

“We must stop being so worried about the “sustainability” of churches, and focus on the quality of the disciple due to their time in that community…”

A few days ago I mentioned I was going to continue with what I felt was one of the most important lessons we learned during our time in Las Vegas. To get caught up, Click Here to read the previous post…the following is among many of the things we have learned in the past two years, but something I have been thinking a lot about lately. It will shape & mold how we do things from here on out, and have a tremendous impact on how we will pursue “things” once we arrive in Austin…

Overall, I have determined that Christ is TRULY concerned with the individual Disciples who make up His body (the Church). He is concerned with the growth of those “parts”, knowing that if they are healthy then the body as a whole will be healthy. Many of us fall into the trap of caring/worrying/pursuing more about the “sustainability” of the new “church” or “community” that the health of the individual disciple can be overlooked. The fact is if the disciple is not healthy the church is not healthy. The truth is while most simple/organic churches will not (in many cases SHOULD NOT) be in existence for more than a couple of years, the quality of the disciple will live on forever no matter where they are geographically. (This has been our experience thus far)

As many of you know, at Intentional Gatherings we do like to see new faith communities birthed as a result of discipleship. However, we must constantly fight, and remind ourselves that these new faith communities are a means to an end; they are not an end in themselves. The hope is that they would produce and foster healthy, mature, and reproducible disciples. As disciples are reproduced the Body of Christ (Church) grows and is made more pure for His return. This is a beautiful thing.

I know what some of you are SCREAMING right now: “Aaron, are you saying you aren’t concerned with the actual church that is made up of those individual disciples, and are you saying Christ is not concerned with each individual church!?” I am saying that I feel Christ is extremely concerned with each individual disciple, and their obedience to whatever particular community of faith they are a part of for that time in their lives. We must remember that while there are individuals inside of different communities of faith there are also communities of faith that make up THE CHURCH. We must start with the health of the disciple. From there we will ALWAYS get a healthy community of faith (Healthy does not always mean it will “live” forever=), and thus a healthy body as a whole. If we skip the disciple and try to have a “proper” or “sustainable” faith community then we “chop the legs” out from under the Body as a Whole.

I’d rather have a church of 10-15 made up of extremely healthy kingdom-minded Jesus followers that lasts for 2-3 years than one of ANY number that lasts for decades. You see, I know that wherever those 10-15 go throughout the  rest of their lives they will continue to be that disciple, or potentially start a new church of their own.

“We must stop being so worried about the “sustainability” of churches, and focus on the quality of the disciple due to their time in that community.”

May we all begin, and continue to focus on the disciple more than we do the “entity” (whether big, small, mega, or house) in which we call, “church”. As we pursue individuals gaining a deeper understanding of the Gospel, and fall more in love with their Savior, Jesus, may HE do the rest…”build HIS Church”.

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3 thoughts on “What Are We Aiming For…?

  1. Aaron,

    I believe if everyone had the heart attitude and perspective that you have then the church would be a healthier place doing a better job of fulfilling the Great Commission. The ways in which you have helped me understand this and helped me grow in this are numerous.

    As always, I think where we tend to disagree is in regards to conclusions regarding church practice. Conclusions such as:

    “while most simple/organic churches will not (in many cases SHOULD NOT) be in existence for more than a couple of years, the quality of the disciple will live on forever no matter where they are geographically. (This has been our experience thus far)”

    and the similar comment,

    “I know that wherever those 10-15 go throughout the rest of their lives they will continue to be that disciple, or potentially start a new church of their own.”

    It would seem that an “experience thus far” that isn’t even a decade long wouldn’t be enough to make such a concrete statement like “I know that wherever those 10-15 go throughout the rest of their lives they will continue to be that disciple.” I wouldn’t dare to make such a concrete statement even after decades of ministry. Especially since I am not the Holy Spirit and will never truly know a person’s heart and whether they will persevere to the end or not.

    I understand that this is mainly you processing your ministry in Vegas and documenting how it has helped shape the perspective you now enter into Austin with. I also understand the room for subjectivity when using statement such as “I’d rather.” When using such statements one isn’t proclaiming exclusivity in church practice – simply a preference. I also agree 100% with your concluding thoughts.

    I would simply warn against making conclusions based off such a small sample of ministry – when as a whole, we have thousands of years of church data to analyze and still come to different conclusions.

    grace and peace –

    matt

    • Thanks so much man. Wow, very humbling, and SO true. Perhaps my wording should have been different there…maybe something like “I would like to think”, or “I would hope”, etc. =) Thanks for pointing that out man. I will certainly consider this experience in all of my future writings! Also, thanks for swinging by and speaking blessing over me and my family today. It was great to see you.

  2. Thanks for your thoughts Aaron & Matt. I love your passion for what you do. it’s refreshing- I pray God continues His ministry with both of you.

    Lots of love,
    Chelsea

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