Monday, January 17, 2011

Church Trends with John Ortberg

I read a blog today written in part by John Ortberg. John has been a well respected writer and author through the years. He authored "If You Want to Walk on the Water You Have to Get Out of the Boat" and many others. He used to be on staff at Willow Creek Community Church, and now is senior pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church. Here are few comments by John on spiritual formation and discipleship:

I think that there is a large groundswell of people who are seeking to be disciples – followers of Jesus – in a way that brings about authentic change at the level of character and habits.

I think for too long discipleship became a word that, in certain circles, conjured up early morning meetings at Denny’s and reading a book and filling in blanks and ‘accountability’ to make sure other people filled in their blanks. People are more aware that information alone does not produce transformation.

This is impacting churches because those traditional discipleship programs are increasingly ineffective. Churches are often not sure what to do next. Small groups continue to exist, but the dirty little secret in many churches is that quality control around small groups is notoriously difficult.

So churches are looking for ways to hand-craft disciples rather than mass-produce them. We are beginning once more to come to grips with the fact that people are made to grow in different ways. And churches are struggling to make ‘spiritual formation’ their entire agenda rather than one department.

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