Why Discipleship?

May 3, 2013

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Dear Friends,

It seems like everyone in the “church world” has a proposed solution to the revitalization of the American Church. Some believe an attractional worship service is the answer. Others advocate for a house church model while others are propagating the missional church. Which model is correct? Which model is correct for your context?

The answer for Eastside Community Church is the model and the message of Jesus. We have discovered that relational discipleship is what Jesus lived and modeled for us during his life time here on earth. I will discuss relational discipleship in a future post.

Here is why Jesus’ method and message is the answer. These stats comes from a workshop that Jim Putman taught at Exponential 2013 in Orlando, FL.

George Barna makes the following statement in his book – Revolution:

“Every human being was created by God primarily to know Him, love Him and serve Him. All other activity is superfluous. But that being the case raises some tough questions. One of them is simple: if the local church is God’s answer to our spiritual needs, then why are most churched Christians so spiritually immature and desperate.”

Here are some statistics from the Barna Research Group:

* 8 out of every 10 believers do not feel they have entered into the presence of God, or experienced a connection with Him, during the worship service.

* The typical churched believer will die without leading a single person to a life-saving knowledge of and relationship with Jesus Christ.

* Only 9% of all born-again adults have a biblical worldview – meaning that less than 1 out of every 10 Christians, age 18 or older, believes that absolute moral truth exists, believes that such truth is contained in the Bible, and possesses a handful of core beliefs that reflect such truth. These truths consist of; there is a real heaven and hell, there is a real devil, a person is saved by grace through faith in Christ alone, and it is the responsibility of every Christian to share their faith in Christ with unbelievers.

* Churched Christians give away an average of 3% of their income in a typical year and feel pleased at their “sacrificial” generosity.

* Christians attend 1.6 times a month to a weekend service of any kind.

* Less than 1 out of every 6 churched believers has a relationship with another believer through which spiritual accountability is provided.

* The most significant influence on the choices of churched believers is neither teachings from the pulpit nor advice gleaned from fellow congregants; it is messages absorbed from the media, the law, and family members.

The average size of church in attendance in America was a little over a 100 ten years ago. Now, the average size is 85. Only 14% of churches in America are growing with only 2% of that growth in new conversion while 12% of that growth is transfer. The largest group of believers in America is now the NONES! They don’t have any belief in anything.

While the American Church is in decline cults are growing at a staggering rate. Here are some stats:
• The U.S. has the largest Buddhist Temple, located in Boulder, CO
• The U.S. has the world’s largest Muslim Training Center, New York.
• The U.S. has the world’s largest Jewish population
• The U.S. has the 8th largest Hindu population
• 411 Americans converted to Islam in the last 24 hours
• 872 people converted to Mormonism in the last 24 hours

How is the tide going to be turned? Not by using our current methods or models for sure. The only answer is to return too Jesus – His Ways and His Methods – Relational Discipleship!

What are your thoughts?

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