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Called to Be Radical

Called to Be Radical

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Published by PartakeM
Jesus was the ultimate radical... His church and His people are called to be radical. How does radical look and what would be the effect if the church and christians were seen to be radical?
Jesus was the ultimate radical... His church and His people are called to be radical. How does radical look and what would be the effect if the church and christians were seen to be radical?

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Published by: PartakeM on Oct 04, 2010
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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.
Radical Community
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community was radical.It was where people’s lives were being changed as the Holy Spirit filled them.Instead of being a withdrawn people filled with fear of retribution from the Romangovernment and Jewish leaders, they became a people filled with boldness and joy.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
 
A radical community requires radical discipleship. Radical discipleshipcommences with compassion, similar to that of Jesus when he looked over thecrowds, and commented that they were like sheep without a shepherd (Matthew9v36). It should be a compassion driven like that of Jesus towards the woman atthe well (John 4vv1-26). With compassion as motivation, and a contrite heart,the radical church community can reach out to those emerging who primarily seeJesus and the church as irrelevance.A radical Christian Disciple needs also to involve the voices of others by engagingin dialogue with trusted others. This will involve having a diverse team in theChurch who are both willing and empowered to give advice. This team willrequire an individual leader to have a relaxed grip on control, with powerdelegated to others, which is radical in that it goes against current strains of leadership.This radical leadership style requires a pursuit of relationship in order to work,rather than a pursuit of aims and outcomes. This will enable trust to form andhelps establish the community on a firm relational foundation. Once relationshiphas been formed, then the spiritual gifts of the Christian disciple can be used inorder to serve the community. Exercising gifts and being functional enables theChristian Disciple to grow, be used by God and to flourish with confidence andsupport. Radical leadership and radical Christian Discipleship encourage thefringe members.Finally, Jesus recommends that Christian disciples be wise like serpent andinnocent as doves (Matthew 10v16b). The means Christian Disciples are to beskilful and shrewd in making decisions that are characterised by intelligence,patience and shrewdness. Additionally, Christian Disciples are to be gentle andharmless, like doves. This would make Christian Disciples and leaders who areaccountable to live a life of integrity worthy of the gospel (Philippians 1v27). Thisis a life, which is seen to be as holy and blameless. In order to do this,dependence on the Holy Spirit for strength and care is a vital necessity. Byrelying on the Holy Spirit, the Christian Disciple is perpetually connected to JesusChrist, who is after all, the Head of the church community.The Christian Disciple is to be a shepherd leader rather than a manager, so thatguidance and nurture are central, rather than merely feeding the community. AChristian Disciple who cares and loves is one who goes out to find the lost ratherthan waiting for the lost to come. This shepherd is also involved in the training of other Christian Disciples so that care is disseminated. This does not meanhowever that a radical Christian Disciple leader becomes a subordinate to thecommunity, catering to every whim and fad suggested by others. The ChristianDisciple leader needs be a servant but also requires discernment.Discipleship at most churches these days is organized around their programmesof small groups, Sunday services, prayer groups, leadership group andopportunities to serve. Discipleship in these churches usually involves some formof leadership accountability in four key areas: Mission, Maturity, Outreach andLeadership. Mission involves helping people become Christian and nurturing theirfaith diligently. If Western churches and Christian disciples started to take radicalsteps, both in being and making Christian Disciples, then growth wouldsystematically increase. The Church would no longer be seen as irrelevant but asa thriving community where Jesus is glorified and transformation sought.For more to think about please do read Acts 2v42-47. Ask yourself the followingquestions, writing them down if you can, and see how you respond or react to

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