Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Forgotten Ways - part 4

At the heart of it all is Jesus. “For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. “

Hirsch is often asked why he think the Chinese underground church has experienced such rapid growth. He responds, “if one is willing to die for the faith, one has gone beyond easy believism into the realms of genuine faith and love for God.”

Recently I was at a Church Planting Movement conference. David Watson, the main presenter said that in the Chinese churches they generally ask an “extra” question when someone is being baptized. “Would you be willing to die for Jesus?” They ask this question because it is a real possibility that they will be asked to lay down their life for the King.

Hirsch says that in order for the Chinese Church to survive within the context of persecution they have to rid themselves of all unnecessary impediments. This includes: the institutional conception of ecclesia (assembly or church), condense and purify their core message (Jesus is Lord), adopt a more cell-like structure, rely heavily on relational networks. They also must remove all of the traditional interpretations and theological paraphernalia in order to stay under the radar.

This causes me to question if it will take this kind of persecution for the western church return to its core message and theory and practice. What does it really look like to make Jesus Lord? Lord of your entire life? What would it look like if the Church really made Jesus the Lord of everything they were about?

Hirsch says that at the heart of all great movements in Christian history there is a recovery of a simple Christology. He is the initiator of the New Covenant, and He, Himself is the New Covenant. Thus discipleship (becoming like Jesus) lies as the central task of the Church.

“The greatest proof of Christianity for others is not how far a man can logically analyze his reasons for believing, but how far in practice he will stake his life on his belief.”

We must lead God’s people not from a place of honor and demanded respect, but rather from a place of inspiration. If we want to help lead the church back to its true leader, Jesus, we must stake our lives on the statement that Jesus is our Lord. And if you take a hard look at the Gospels while doing this, you will truly be an inspiration and be able to lead from that place.

According to Hirsch, “Inspirational leadership involves a relationship between leaders and followers in which each influences the other to pursue common objectives, with the aim of transforming followers into leaders in their own right. It does this by appealing to values and calling without offering material incentives.”

He says that the quality of the church’s leadership is directly proportional to the quality of discipleship. So I leave you with this question. Who are you discipling? And who is discipling you?