Shane Claiborne talks about the danger of Church and discipleship “being a mile wide and an inch deep”.
People get obsessed by the numbers of bums on seat, rather than measuring Christ-likeness in our lives.
The challenge is not how many people we can pack into an event, but how many people are changed and transformed by being there.
The fruit of changed lives.
We need to take people not just into the heart of the institution of Church, but into the heart of who Christ is and what it means to follow him.
Other Churches have great paths of discipleship and are rightly relentless in taking people deeper, talking of ‘from milk to meat’, but the only people of these discipleship pathways are those people who are already Christians…
Yet soon this becomes like an exclusive members club or a bit of a Christian ghetto, where Christ is calling them to reach out, meet, engage and build relationships with their community.
Yet the call is too be BOTH deep AND wide.
Let’s look at our model for perfect theology and mission Jesus himself, he attracted a crowd but left them not only with full bellies but food for thought, and yet his whole ministry was of taking people deeper into who he was and what it meant, he did see people fall away with the challenge, so much so that he askd Simon Peter once “are you going to go too?” to which Simon Peter replied “where-else can we go, you have the words of eternal life”.
Yet at the end of his ministry he left the Church in the hands of a small number of people, who in the power of the Holy Spirit, transformed the world, Disciples making disciples.
Yet so often we think of this as a collective Church Strategy, rather than our own personal calling, we are called to be a disciple of Jesus who makes other disciples of Jesus.
A call to be wide and meet people, making connections, a called to breadth.
Yet also a call to depth, and a call to journey with people to Christ and on to maturity in him.
A vicar friend described this as like eating curry, people start eith a Korma and as they enjoy eating curry they move warmer and warmer.
Some Churches and Chritians hit people with vindaloo stuff straight away and unsuprisingly people who don’t know Christ run for cover as they burn their mouths.
Other Churches and Chritians just keep hitting people with Korma and they never experience the full joy of all that a curry can be.
So, let’s graually learn to increase the chilli in our conversations and gently up the spiritual temperature -being deep and wide- as we move people from a korma to vindaloos. b