When I was back home in San Francisco last weekend I caught the end of an event hosted by Lighthouse called Disciple! There were thirty or so people from around the country huddled together discussing what it means to live as disciples of Christ. San Francisco is a great place to have this discussion for various reasons including (1) it is not a Christian-friendly culture so “church growth” cannot be first and foremost; (2) it is a city that will challenge your convictions as you face world view with differing morality or as you try to proclaim Jesus in the heart of pluralism; (3) it is a place where you must live the faith as much as you proclaim it because hypocrisy can be seen from miles away.
Many Christians I know are afraid to be intentional about discipleship. There is a fear that repetitive practices can result in “legalism” or “Pelagianism”. Yet it has been my experience that while the Holy Spirit is the one who does the work of bringing change there is a reason for the imperatives of Scripture. We must “decrease so that he can increase” as Christ is formed in our lives.
This event was influenced by other communities who emphasize intentionality in discipleship like the Tacoma based Soma group. Yet this is not the only place where these things are being discussed. Another acquaintance of mine whom I met when I lived in San Francisco is Mark Scandrette. He has been lumped in with the emerging church though I don’t know that he is so easily labeled. He has a new book coming out titled Practicing the Way of Jesus wherein he explains how his community, ReImagine!, has lived a “Jesus Dojo” in the City. As with the Lighthouse community ReImagine! has also sought to think through the necessity of being intentional disciples of Christ.
In this video Scandrette explains some of the practices/experiments they have done:
As someone with a heart for San Francisco I am excited to see these various expressions in San Francisco. I am interested to hear the thoughts of others. How intentional do you think we need to be about being discipled and discipling others? Where is the intersection between this sort of living and passionate evangelism of non-Christians? Is there ever a danger that this sort of approach will turn us to “inward” in our spirituality? Thoughts?