Called To Be Radical
Jesus said in Matthew 10v16:
“Look, I am sending you out as sheep amongwolves. So be as shrewd as snakes and harmless as doves.”
How should individual Christian disciples react in regards to a life of Discipleshipin an age where church attendance is rapidly declining? It is by being a radicalcommunity of radical individuals, which will help stop this decline in Britain. TheChurch needs Christian Disciples to be living a “radical Discipleship”, engagingwith the culture, counting the cost of Discipleship and reflecting true humanity.
Firstly, the church needs to be a community that is seen to be radical by thesurrounding society. At Pentecost, the church began when the Holy Spirit filledthe Disciples (Acts 2v4). This momentous occasion started the Discipleshipprocess of how Christians were to live as God’s people. The hallmarks of thiscommunity were commitment and transformation. This community was radical.It was where people’s lives were being changed as the Holy Spirit filled them.Instead of being a withdrawn people filled with fear of retribution from the Romangovernment and Jewish leaders, they became a people filled with boldness and joy. The New Testament church grew by being a radical community imbued withradical individuals engaging with others.Today’s church will grow by building a strong community. A community whichinvolves joining together isolated and solitary individuals, where people areimbued with love, showing care to each other, particularly the frail, elderly andyoung, with what Moltmann calls a “creative passion for the impossible.” Aninherent human need is the need to belong, and by fulfilling relational needs, theradical community will become relevant to the people within it. It will then alsobecome relevant to those who are on the outside and looking in.This involves improving present societal conditions, rather than remaining aconservative community, which merely repairs the status quo. In doing this,today’s church will be emulating characteristics of the early church (Acts 2v44-45). As individuals became Christian disciples, they were added to the church.Discipline helped ensure that the community was being seen as a holycommunity. To be excommunicated from the community for gross sin was asevere punishment. However church discipline is not primarily about punishment,but rather a “formative and corrective” service as part of Discipleship. Churchdiscipline is foundational to Discipleship making, because it concerns thecommunity’s spiritual health, and strengthens the community bonds.The church must be a community of Disciples, willing to be holy. It is by beingholy, that the church will grow. The role of the community engaged in radicalChristian Discipleship is to help people to be holy and not merely happy.Happiness will flow from holiness, but holiness will not necessarily flow from aninduced ‘feel good factor’. The radical community needs to be making ChristianDisciples who are trained, equipped and developed in order for them to makeDisciples themselves. Whereas in the past, Discipleship processes andprogrammes have emerged after people have joined the church, it should befoundational. The best way is for the leadership to set the example, and show away forward. Good leadership has good accountability to each other and to thewhole community.
Radical Discipleship & Radical Leadership