Why Is Discipleship So Difficult? by Dan Juster June 6, 2019
An overdue and healthy conversation has been taking place in America concerning the effectiveness of the western churches in making disciples. The debate intensified when Willow Creek Community Church Pastor, Bill Hybels admitted that his “seeker-friendly” congregation did not produce transformational change in the lives of its members. That is, the members were not discipled. Sociologist, George Barna, has extensively studied church members in America. His findings indicate that most professing Christians in America are hardly disciples in any significant sense. Sadly, I believe Barna has opted for a radical, anti-organized church orientation as a response. This will not be a solution, but will only make the situation worse. Barna does not have the answer to the problem.
Discipleship - Covenant Communities
Readers of my articles will not be surprised at these developments. I have, in previous articles, contrasted the difference between churches as religious event manufacturing corporations and churches as discipleship covenant communities. These are very different visions!
These are the marks of a discipleship covenant community: They understand that the final charge of Yeshua is to make disciples. This begins with the presentation of the Kingdom invitation, immersion in water as a transforming commitment, and then teaching the new members to obey all of the commandments of Yeshua. As Dallas Willard puts it in his monumental book, The Divine Conspiracy, the curriculum for discipleship is the commandments of Yeshua. A discipleship covenant community is organized into mentoring patterns connected to small group meetings where members are committed to be mutually accountable to grow in obedience. In the early New Covenant era, the basic unit of gathering was in the house, but it was not the exclusive unit of gathering.