We’ve lost our way. We have become all about our weekend services and religious consumption. We have substituted being the church for doing church, and God is showing us a whole new way. He is inviting us into a journey of rediscovering the simplicity of Jesus and His Way. He is inviting us to be and make disciples not just any kind of disciples, but gospel disciples. I invite you to join me on this journey."
This is the opening paragraph of my forthcoming book, “The Gospel Disciple Journey.” I’ve been writing it for the past few years. I was waiting on my heart to mature and for the right time to be heard. It seems like It’s now or never. COVID-19, in many ways, has served as a wake-up call for all. By all, I mean those us who lead and work with the church, faithful churchgoers, and even those who are what we call disconnected or far from God.
As Michael Frost has reminded us in a recently released webinar, we have lost our queen, comparing the chess piece with our weekend services. He goes on to say if you want to master the game of chess, learn to master it without your queen, and then reintroduce your queen. We have lost our weekend services as we know them, and now is the time to learn to be the church.
In the next couple of weeks, things are likely to start returning to normal. Returning to normal will be slow and will include setbacks. Some recent indicator suggests that there will be limits to our worship gatherings for up to a year. Yet we will return to a normal we are familiar with, or for some, perhaps we will venture into a new normal.
A new normal could mean transitioning from a weekend-only to a disciple-making culture. A new normal where we gather to equip disciples to be the church where we live, work, and play. A new normal where parents are the primary disciple-makers for their children. A new normal where praying for and with our neighbors is a regular practice even when our neighbors are “far from God.” A new normal where we are using our resources to serve those who are in need, including the widows, orphans, and the poor. A new normal where churches work together for the restoration of their cities. A new normal where the church is more scattered than gathered, and when we do come together, our gatherings will be so special and certainly not taken for granted. I could go on-and-on, but you get the picture.
How do we steward a new normal in our churches? It begins with our culture. Now is the time to get on our knees and gather a few leaders and begin to seek God for this new normal. With a renewed heart, there are Five Irreducible Questions of Disciple-Making we must ask. They are:
• What is our disciple-making mission?
• What are our disciple-shaping values?
• What is our disciple-moving strategy?
• What are our disciple-forming measures?
• What is our disciple-guiding dream?
Clarity around these five questions can change everything. Now is the time to grab your most trusted staff and leaders and go on a journey together into a Better Future.
David Putman is the founder of Planting the Gospel and a Senior Lead Navigator with Auxano the category leader in vision clarity. When David isn't writing or consulting he enjoys staying fit and competing at Crossfit.