Missional Discipleship with Alan Hirsch

Austin Planter hosted a micro-conference with Alan Hirsch today. Here are some of Alan’s thoughts:

“Movements that seem to spontaneously expand the church were obsessed with discipleship.

If we don’t take discipleship seriously we allow consumerism to take over the hearts of our people.

Austin is a reflection of what America is becoming. It is a great place to experiment to determine what will be effective in the rest of the USA in the future.

Most discipleship resources point us towards spiritual disciplines. Instead Untamed: Reactivating a Missional Form of Discipleship attempts to remove the obstacles that get  in the way of effective discipleship. Idols keep us from worshipping God. Idols intrude in our relationship with God. Anything can become an idol and distract. By naming these idols we can better determine how to overcome them. The Bible is obsessed with pointing out idols and idolatry.

If you have a wrong understanding of God, the more devout you become the more dangerous you are to yourself and to others.

As we look at God, we understand Him through the grid of Christology (our understanding of Jesus). God made us in His image, and too often we return the favor. When the world looks at Christians, too often they do not see a reflection of who Jesus is. This is the greatest condemnation against those who follow Jesus. If we aren’t looking like Jesus, then what are we doing?!?!

Our culture will intrude and keep us from looking like Jesus. American culture is obsessed with keeping up with those around us, selfishness, and with our family. The Church too often easily submits to the idol of the family. We must order our love with God as our primary love. In doing so, we can love others better.

Polytheism ruled the day of the New Testament. Into this context came the claim that ‘there is only one God and His name is Yahweh.’ This was a call to loyalty. As a result, all domains of our lives come under submission to the one God (rather than being loyal to lots of gods). Worship is offering all of our world back to God. Biblical discipleship calls people towards a unification of our life to God.

If the only tool we have is a hammer, soon everything begins to look like a nail. Protestants keep using ‘justification by faith’ as our only tool when there are so many other idols besides guilt that people feel. The primary way to unlock our context – figure out the idols. Too often we try to get people to feel guilty so we can offer them forgiveness in Jesus. Rather than starting with ‘justification by faith’ as our message, we should start with the other idols the people in our city feel the most (shame, enslaved to money, overwhelmed by broken relationships, etc.).

Evangelism is part of the discipleship process. We should be committed to investing in people before conversion and post conversion. This is what Jesus did with the disciples. Too many Christians are trying to only convert people. This isn’t our calling in the Great Commission. We are called to ‘make disciples’ which requires intentional and meaningful relationships.”

Last summer I interviewed Alan and Debra Hirsch about their book Untamed. Listen in here.




Showing 2 comments
  • Dave Hearn

    This is a great post… one I wholeheartedly agree with! I will check out the interview and the rest of the site. Thanks.

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