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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

17 Apr '13

Language, culture and discipleship

Posted by T.J. Addington in discipleship
Language is powerful and reflects societies mores and commitments. You can be a friend on Facebook without really knowing someone. If they have more than five thousand friends you can be a fan on their fan page. And many of us both follow and have followers on Twitter. While there are up sides and down sides to social media (and I participate in them regularly) they are the reality in an extraordinarily connected world.

It is not surprising that some of these same "ways we relate" to one another in the social media can carry over to our relationship with God. There are many who would consider themselves fans of Jesus. He was after all, an impressive guy. Others would consider themselves friends of his and others, in the language of twitter are followers. Of course Twitter followers regularly choose what content they read or don't read. It really denotes a general interest rather than anything else. None of these terms in their popular context denote a disciple of Jesus. 

A central challenge of the church today is to help people understand what it means to be a disciple of Jesus. One who takes up their cross daily to follow Him. One who devours His word as the authoritative word for us and not something we can pick and choose from. One who deserves our full and undivided devotion in all circumstances whether good or bad. These are not fans, followers or friends in the popular sense but fully devoted followers - all in disciples.

The word disciple may seem old fashioned but it may also communicate something that our alternative language does not due to their use in popular culture. At the lease we need to differentiate  between what we mean in the social media and what it truly means to make Jesus King and Lord of our lives.