The end goal of discipleship in the Bible is conformity to Christ or as Matthew puts it, absolute obedience to all of Christ’s commands. However, in general in America we’ll settle for church attendance (at least three times a month), bringing your bible (you don’t actually have to read it much), financial giving (anything over 3% is additional merit), and inviting your neighbor for a church social). As for lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, anger, envy and pride…don’t worry about it…after all, no one’s perfect.
The disconnect between the world of the Bible and our own world couldn’t be more clear. Various ones have set about to change that. Perhaps the latest attempt is by George Barna whose goal in Maximum Faith is to provide a “road map” of the spiritual journey. Barna says that he has discovered 10 destinations from the start to the end of the discipling process and unsurprisingly, the majoring of Christians in America don’t progress very far along his route.
I have to admit that I am both hesitant and hopeful for Maximum Faith. Hesitant, because I doubt very much that all people travel along a similar enough path. For instance, I find it hard to believe that Peter, Paul and Timothy’s discipleship programs were very similar. On the other hand, I am intrigued to discover what Barna found out after interviewing more than 15,000 people about their spiritual walk. I am also hopeful that even though the ten destinations might not always follow a linear path, perhaps they are destinations we all must hit eventually.
Regardless, considering the fact that the lack of discipleship in churches in the single greatest problem we face in the American church (and not only in the American church)…I think I’ll take a chance and pick up a copy of Maximum Faith and see what all Barna has to say about this.
If you are interested, check out Barna’s website for the book at MaximumFaith.com and if you want to purchase the book, then help support this blog and pick it up here at the ISeminary bookstore (or you can pick it up directly from Barna’s site).