Meditations (Web)Church

A year (and a bit) in the life of NewSpring's first Web pastor

What do new believers really need?

with 2 comments

Have you ever thought about how messy the process of discipleship was for you?

I bet you can think of one person from your formative Christian life — for me that would be NewSpring Worship Leader Lee McDerment — without whom your spiritual growth would look drastically different.

I just spent the last week thinking through my assumption that the NewSpring web campus should offer new believers some clear, “next steps”  — written guideposts about Jesus, the Bible, and healthy spiritual practices to get them started.

I know, from personal experience, that new believers feel overwhelmed about where to begin. But I wonder whether it’s relationships — not study courses — that truly drive discipleship.

Currently, NewSpring officially recommends to new believers that they read the Bible, starting with the Gospel of John, pray daily, attend church every week and get involved in the life of the church, such as by volunteering for one of our ministries and taking part in small groups.

That approach reflects NewSpring Senior Pastor Perry Noble‘s idea that he’s responsible for feeding you spiritual milk and maybe setting the table for solid food, but it’s a mature Christian’s responsibility to feed himself.

In the era of “40 days” for this and “12 steps” for that — when the idol of  our age is control, ease and convenience — it’s seems so tempting to think that we have to have a plan for discipleship, a method, a process, a formula.

But the picture of discipleship we get in the Bible is primarily social: hanging out with/modeling ourselves on Christ, listening to sound teaching and living out the “one-anothers.” Spiritual formation is so much more about heart work than mind work.

Knowledge is not the point is it? In Perry’s gorgeous phrase, “we’re all educated way beyond our level of obedience.”

Maybe the church’s true challenge for aiding personal and social transformation isn’t more “teaching,” but helping believers encounter others who they’d like to meet with and spur on one another? (Hebrews 10:24,25)

Isn’t that what social media tools are supposed to be for?

What say you?


Written by NickCharalambous

December 31, 2008 at 7:13 pm

2 Responses

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  1. freakin’ amen. this year is the year where the church will be forced to encounter that in the online space.

    i’m calling it now.

    and i want to be a part of it.


    December 31, 2008 at 8:34 pm

  2. awesome. really would love to experiment with some stuff in this area. i’ll be getting in touch.


    December 31, 2008 at 8:41 pm

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