Over the last few days I have been reading Growing True Disciples by George Barna for my current class in the Masters of Arts in Pastoral Leadership program at Olivet. This book is almost twenty years old, but summarizes some significant research about the church and those of us that make up the church. If I am honest with you, it has really been messing with me. There is so much in the research that I have personally witnessed, but the thing that has broken me the most is that over the last twenty years I believe the research would show that there is even less difference between those of us who profess to be Christians and those that do not. As a pastor and a Jesus follower, it breaks my heart.
While I don’t have all the answers on how we can turn this trend around, I do know one thing that will make a significant difference. As Jesus followers, we need to get serious about truly following Jesus – and only Jesus. It is so easy to be busy and have multiple things going on all the time, but where our time goes shows where our passions really lie. Are we truly passionate about our faith and our relationship with Christ? A good litmus test is if you are regularly making time to spend with God in his Word, in prayer, in study, or in service. Another question we must also ask as a litmus test of our passion for God is whether or not we are taking the Great Command to love God and love others (as Jesus showed us how to love others) and the Great Commission. Are we truly loving others as Jesus loves if we are not making disciples?
This is a question (among many others) that this book has brought to mind in recent days. I’m not finished with it yet and will likely have many more thoughts as I finish, but this question has stuck with me. Are we truly loving others as Jesus loves if we are not making disciples? I pray that we will all take this seriously and be intentional about our walk with Christ – not just paying it lip service and not living it out in our day to day life.
~ Pastor Todd