So, we get the question semi-regularly (or something like it), “Why do you have a whole different language and method for doing church? Can’t you just do things the ‘normal’ way?” Usually this question is preceded by an expression that they understand how and why the vision and mission are ‘reset’ around discipleship; but they just can’t quite get why we aren’t doing ‘small groups’ and ‘regular ol Bible studies’, and why we keep saying things like ‘kairos’ and ‘missional community’ and ‘huddle’. Sometimes these people seem skeptical, others curious, and some even seem almost angry or at least frustrated; but I LOVE the questions. I sincerely enjoy when people are willing and vulnerable enough to engage the conversation!
Before I get to the answer I want to mention, if you’re reading this and thinking, “Hey! I’m one of those people! That jerk is writing about me!” You can rest easy, you’re not the only one who has asked me, let alone the countless who I’m sure have asked Mike Breen and others at 3DM. In fact, it’s asked often enough that it’s worth writing about.
The answer for us is this: When your goal changes, often your method must change, too. In this case, churches across western civilization have long let their goal slip from discipleship to myriad other churchy or church related things, and over time their methods and language have moved to match. Discipleship, you know that great thing Jesus commissioned us to do, was left to be a byproduct of the works intended to be support. So, as we seek to bring His Kingdom to light in people, as we shed ourselves for life in His Family we need tools and methods and language that lends itself to that end. A simpler way of thinking about it is this: If you want to win the Tour de France, training along side Michael Phelps won’t help you. He will have LOADS of tips for your health, and you will be fit, and you will eat 12,000 calories a day, but when it’s all said and done you will (most likely) not reach your goal. Swimming your way to a biking championship just doesn’t work. Just like Bible studying your way into discipleship just doesn’t work.
So why do we do things differently? Why can’t we use the old programming language and operating system? Because we’re meant for a different environment, we want to win the Tour, we want to disciple.