What we’ve done to make sure that discipleship is taken seriously is embed within the covenant of each group a certain set of practices. The problem with most communities of faith is that they are confessional—they’re saying the right things, but they don’t address behavior.
So what we did is develop a set of practices designed to produce embodied values in the lives of our group members. And we called those practices TEMPT—
- Together we follow
- Engagement with Scripture
- Passion for Jesus
They have to move from being Bible studies and prayer groups to being mission agencies. And they need to take seriously the idea of a common set of disciplines that begin to form them and shape their culture.
But the main thing is for people to just get out—and I say this with all love and respect—just get out of the house. It’s too safe in our houses. We need to start inhabiting the places where other people inhabit. If you can pull off “church” in a third place, in a place where people go to spend their spare time, you will be forced to contextualize your message and get away from the bad three-chord choruses and stuff like that.
I am re-imagining simple church that places a whole-life, missional, counter-cultural, Jesus-following ethos at the very center of its gathering and intentional discipleship processes.