A New Church?

Recently I conducted my first small group session of the Transformed church-wide campaign. Transformed is a fifty-day study written by Rick Warren and produced by Saddleback Church. Based on Romans 12:2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds;
Transformed challenges Christians to experience transformation in seven key areas of their lives.
At the end of fifty days participants will be equipped to live transformed spiritual lives.

In the introductory video Pastor Rick promotes church-wide campaigns as an effective method of growing the local church in terms of discipleship, number of participants, financial stewardship,
mission and ministry.
In the introduction, Pastor Rick describes using the program as “just add water and stir.” While there is some truth to that statement, the reality is that discipleship is never that simple; nor is it meant to be.

I’m confident that Rick Warren understands the cost of discipleship, and equally sure that he does not intend to diminish the requirements of following Christ. It is however, crucial to acknowledge that the call of Christ on our lives is all-inclusive. Discipleship involves the totality of our lives: spiritual, family, vocational, educational, financial, and so on. Discipleship is all-demanding. When we choose to deny Christ entre into any area of our lives we reject discipleship in favor of cheap grace. Anything that we allow to occupy the rightful place of Christ on the throne of our lives denies our claim to discipleship.

At the end of fifty days I am confident that we will see a new church. Bold statement? Absolutely! Arrogant? Naive? Not at all. At the end of fifty days some of us will be transformed. A few of us will have accepted the call to be transformed in all spheres of our lives. It takes only a pinch of yeast to leaven the whole batch. Those of us who dare to take the call of Christ seriously are the salt, light, and leaven in a world covered in darkness.

At the conclusion of this program people will take seriously the call of Jesus, “follow me.” Those people will follow Jesus in all areas of their lives. Those folks will be called “disciples.” Not all Christians are disciples. Some Christians are mere spectators; sitting in the stands, watching and cheering when their team is winning; whining and complaining when things don’t go their way. Alas, there are far more spectators than participants.

Not so with us. We not only claim Jesus as Lord and Savior, we live Jesus as Lord and Savior. We will see a new church in terms of her spirit; her service; her love. We claim discipleship! We live discipleship!!
A new church is emerging from the detritus of the past. God is doing a new thing.

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3 Responses to A New Church?

  1. Shai Nyi says:

    I attended the first session of “Transformed ” and found it very meaningful. The people who attended were very engaged, the discussion was good as people shared their experiences with Christ and their walk with Him. Being transformed is not just about hearing and believing. Its about being changed from the inside out in the way we think and live to become more like Him and each life journey begins with the first step. It doesn’t have to be a big step. It can be something as simple as memorizing the weekly bible verse. But slowly, one small step at a time, before you realize it, you will be transformed. Time to take that first step.

  2. Joyce says:

    Glad you are blogging again, Jim. Great post.

  3. Shai says:

    Some more thoughts on being transformed from Dietrich Bonhoeffer “The Cost of Discipleship”:
    ” God sees his own image in us. We were created to be like God but when we turn from him and became self-centered beings we could no longer do so. But God has a plan to recreate His Image in us. God wants to transform our whole being into his image not just our beliefs or behavior. We must be completely transformed from the inside out. God became man in Jesus to show us what he wants us to be. God sent his son to show us his image of who we are to become. We cannot transform ourselves. Rather it is the presence of his Spirit within us that will transform us from the inside out. We are transformed by his presence. Christ took upon this human form of hours so that men could be more like him. When Jesus became man He restored God’s image to all men. That is why we are to love others for in loving others we are loving the image of God. When we are transformed into His Image we also share in his resurrection. We reflect him even in this life. As we are transformed From the Inside Out by the presence of Christ within us girls of her being because Jesus Lives within us we can live like he lived love as he loved forgive as he forgave. By being transformed in His image we are able to hold our lives on his with unquestioning obedience and focus Him

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