Disciple in Context

   The very reasonable question, now that persons are starting to be converted in the satellite centers (Starbucks, Fitness Center, Referee Chapter) is the one I keep hearing. Now, with these persons coming to Christ, how will you lead them into your local congregation?

   I can only give you my conviction on this subject. That is, I think it is better to continue the conversation within its context. There are various reason for this and I know a few of them. To explain my feelings, I have to ask readers to accept the initial statements and interpret the nuancing.

  •    We are not converting as to life-style. That is, converts who remain in context may (will) still wear their tattoos, piercings, dark clothing, et al. They will not immediately be found in the third row, coat and tie, though that option is certainly open. It is simply not required.
  • We are not converting to middle-class mindset. Some of the things educated, salaried, middle-class persons take for granted seem somehow Utopian to the convert, or, in fact, may seem a bit of a "comedown" to upper socio-economic persons, who are listening as well. In the gym the other day, an owner of several local businesses confessed Christ within my hearing in terms so achingly theologically beautiful it would have caused your breath to stop. He will probably not start to attend divine services right away, or, perhaps, never. However, he has offered other opportunities for conversation since then and this is our "Sunday School."
  • To take converts out of their context almost certainly puts them in a situation where their testimonial influence will serve more as a novelty than as effective evangelistic leadership.

4 thoughts on “Disciple in Context”

  1. As a fiifteen year old, I was led to the Lord by a member of a mission for the really poor people of our town, of which I was one. The mission was sponsored by the stately old First Baptist Church. I would never have felt comfortable going to the big church, but I found people like myself in that little mission. In fact, almost everyone there had a story similar to mine. I still believe the church is God’s way of fulfilling the Great Commission, and your story confirms why we need lots of different kinds of churches. People may not repond to your church or mine, but we can support activities to which they would respond. Some churches need to be more contextual…that is, seek to reach similar people in places where most churches would never go. This, it seems to me, is a clear reason why all the middle class churches we can start will never be able to reach some folks. What pastor, though, wants to minister in places like that. Seems like they all want to be in fast growing suburban neighborhoods where they can show big numbers.

  2. I still honestly believe that there is a way to worship “within a community” in their context. The authentic time together may not look like anything we have seen before – but that in and of itself this does not negate the authentic nature of their worship. I do not think I am out of line by saying that 65+% of our community fall outside our picture of church.

  3. Austin, Check into Lindsay Cofield’s (BGCT) concept of the satellite congregation…..basically organic/house/coffee shop/in-context church done intentionally by the institutional church.

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