The Trellis and the Vine – Lessons in Discipleship Revisited

11 03 2010

I’ve been enjoying reading  more of Colin Marshall and Tony Payne’s challenges to the traditional approaches into which we have drifted in our evangelical models of ‘doing Christian ministry’ (see my previous post).  I have appreciated their simple and straightforward style and their regular references to Scripture which they continually look to as the basis for the evaluation of what we are doing now.  Here are a few of the sections that I have appreciated – not too much ‘new’ stuff, but old stuff put in a fresh way that calls us to renewed action .

  • The Correct Focus of the Great Commission
    “Sometimes our translations may give the impression that ‘go’ is the emphasis of the command, but the main verb of the sentence is ‘make disciples’, with three subordinate participles hanging off it: going (or ‘as you go’), baptizing and teaching” (p. 12).  “The disciples are now, in turn, to make new disciples by teaching them to obey everything commanded by their Master.  This ‘making-disciples-by-teaching’ corresponds to preaching the gospel in the parallel mandate in Luke…” (p. 12)  “It’s a commission that makes disciple-making the normal agenda and priority of every church and every Christian disciple” (p. 13) (emphasis theirs)
  • Ministry Mind-shifts
    “Most churches nned to make a conscious shift – away from erecting and maintaining structures, and towards growing people who are disciple-making disciples of Christ” (p. 17).  (emphasis theirs)
  • An Apprenticeship Model
    We need a shift “From relying on training institutions to establishing local training.”  Marshall and Payne, although positive about the value of theological education (as I would be) continue, “But a college cannot be expected to provide total training in the character, conviction and skill that is required for ministers and co-workers.  Much of this ought to be done through training ‘on the job’ in church life… a ministry apprenticeship before college and in-service practical training after college” (p.24).
  • A focus on “Gospel Growth”
    “We must be exporters of trained people instead of hoarders of trained people” (p. 25).

Four great concepts that are simple sound sanctified truth from the Word.  Obedience to the Great Commission in making disciples, not just converts, of all nations requires a relational approach to ministry that will model the Christian faith every day and not from the pew or the pulpit alone.

More to follow…


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12 03 2010
John Thomson

Total agreement.

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