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Discipleship: Bridge Between The Heart And The Hands

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...
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Discipleship, says Pastor Todd Wilson, is the bridge between the foundations of the Christian life and the external evidences of that walk.

Given the foundations of gospel rootedness and God centeredness and the outward actions of community engagement and missions mindedness, the connection is discipleship.

Too often we see conservative churches engaged in a narrow-minded navel-gazing piety. They know the truth and they hold to it with strength. They probe the depths of Christian ideas and unearth rare jewels understanding. They are rooted in the gospel and centered on God, but they are sitting in their chairs, hunched over their desks, nose in a book, ignoring the world falling in about their ears. So heavenly minded they’re no earthly good.

I’ve attended a couple churches growing up that were this way. One was stuck in the mire of a pastor filled with anger, and the church suffered horribly for it. The other was not enslaved so to a personality, but they were content to occupy a beautiful corner of the city lightly without changing that corner. Keeping their light so close about themselves there was no redemption occurring outside their walls.

And then too often we see churches engaged in their communities, with minds for mission and outreach, and yet they are unfilled cream puffs. There is not substance or reality girding their vaunted structures. They will as easily share their pulpits with wildly divergent and incorrect teachings as they will refrain from preaching the exclusivity of Christ. These churches occupy many prominent street corners and are pillars and bastions in their communities. But there is no real heart change occurring within their walls. The light they shine can only be their own for they can get it nowhere else. They are neither rooted in the gospel nor centered on God and are no more likely to bring one to true salvation than they are to hold to the truths in the Bibles they place alongside the plethora of other holy books they aspire to.

Discipleship, taught Pastor Todd Wilson, is the bridge that connects the foundations of what would otherwise be a pious but ineffective church with the actions of what would otherwise be an engaged but worldly church, and the result is a church both rooted and effective.

Discipleship requires a continual attentiveness to the voice of Christ and a shunning, a pruning, and possibly even a purging of those habits that distract from the Commission handed to us from Christ.

Discipleship is worked out both singly and in community. It is focused on preparing others for the active ministry as much as it is on preparing ourselves. It is an unselfish and unapologetic pursuit of God in the truest sense of the word.

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