Wednesday, 22 June 2016

You know it will make you uptight and grumpy.

I read the Backyard Missionary blog (see occasional blogroll) for the first time in a while yesterday. Hamo wrote one post describing a film he went to see with his wife, about refugees trying to enter Australia being effectively held prisoner on an island by the Australian government. He knew the film would leave him feeling out of sorts & helpless, and no surprise, that's exactly what it did.

So when I started reading that book on leading missional communities by Mike Breen and the guys at 3DM, the outcome was predictable.

After ordering a paper copy via Amazon I was also able to preview the first 1.5 chapters on the kindle app. The first chapter looked good in many ways, and talked about building extended family that more-or-less worked in a way that I'd seen previously. Great. The 'new church' buzzwords are springing up - like Oikos instead of family - to differentiate this from the old church, but that's how 3DM works.

So I started chapter 2 on the 4 foundational principles of missional community, the first of which is discipleship. OK, I can buy that, makes sense. So we then cut to an example of this, where a MC that had been serving food to homeless people, switched to meeting their needs of friendship because the city social services were already meeting those practical needs very well. The section then concludes reinforcing to us how vital discipleship is.

This was an example of discipleship?

What did I miss - is there a special revelation for the anointed? Is there some subtlety that I'm too stupid to get. This sounds like a missional community discovered that it wasn't being effective doing the obvious thing, so changed approach. Am I supposed to overlook the inappropriate example because I'm overawed that an MC (to use the book's abbreviation) is out befriending homeless people? Isn't there a practical example of discipleship that couldn't have been found & used instead?


Chris and I talked about this - we saw this pattern clearly in Building A Discipling Culture, where examples are given that have absolutely nothing to do with the topic. I feel like the little kid shouting about the kings new clothes when I see this stuff, knowing all the adults watching are going to ignore me anyway. Are these guys charlatans, and if so, why do so many follow their movement? If they're not then why doesn't their teaching hang together? Do they just simply need an editor for their books?


  1. Interesting. Could it be that friendship with the homeless is seen as a different approach to "love your neighbour"? I obviously don't know, not having read the book. Or perhaps they see this as a beginning, a sort of "friendship evangelism" thing? That's not to justify their approach, just thinking about what they possibly mean.

    How would you define discipleship?

  2. Hi Marc, now to me this is the odd thing. You ask how I'd define discipleship, and it's pretty much the way they do: as training someone how to live, often by giving them access to the person they are discipling from and by teaching them in theory and in practice (they might also say, to become just like the discipler). I received the physical book yesterday, and that chapter continues after the point at which I stopped, describing more 'discipleship' in the way that I did there. The example makes no sense in the context.

    Chris was quite cross over the previous book, where the examples given to illustrate one particular point not only failed to do so, but actually were destructive instead of helpful.


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