Last night I held my final membership class for a wonderful group of individuals considering joining Church of the Redeemer. To be honest, I was sad that it was over because I really enjoyed the excuse just to hang out with these folks. Even with two moderately grumpy babies (mine included), the class went well and as always with this group, good thoughtful questions were brought to the table (along with way too many tempting snacks–thanks, Christy!)
One of the questions was how we as a church are thinking about discipleship and what kind of format that takes in our life together. I was hard pressed to answer. We have little that is programmatic. It is, I’m afraid, one of our greatest areas of need, especially as new believers join our ranks. How do we see people maturing in their life of faith? It is the absence of this focus, I believe, that puts such great pressure on the Sunday morning experience: it becomes the one stop shop where all my needs must be met, otherwise I decide that I am simply not being “fed”. This becomes frustrating for the preacher, the worship leader, the board chair , etc.
Yet I feel like we are constantly up against people’s full schedules, the many missional commitments we share, and just plain life, not to mention work schedules (many of us work multiple jobs, night shifts, etc.) People don’t want another “thing”, another meeting, another church commitment.
How do we give ourselves to this journey and to one another? What place does gathering to pray, to read the scriptures, to receive instruction, to confess sin have in our corporate life? This, I believe, will determine whether we live or die as a church, not attendance benchmarks or denominational commitment.