Worship Numbers

Jesus had many followers.  He often spoke to multitudes of people, and we have identified some members of those crowds previously.  Many came out to hear Jesus because they were curious.  His fame spread quickly in the early days of his ministry.  Some followed Jesus from town to town eager to hear and learn more.  Some of those “following” Jesus were not interesting in learning from him, but were seeking incriminating evidence with which to accuse him.  Among the throng of those listening were people that loved Jesus, hated Jesus, and various levels in between.

Jesus had many disciples (students) but from a large group he choose 12.  After the crowds went away – or Jesus escaped from them – he would offer explanation or answer questions in a more intimate setting.  Think of it as the difference between the church sanctuary and a small group.   Continue reading

Technology vs Relationship

I have written before on how the church can take advantage of information technology.  Blogs, video streaming, social websites and podcasting are all ways the local church can reach a global audience.  At the same time, your members and community can stay better informed and connected.  Technology can be a powerful tool for sharing the Gospel, but as always there is a danger if used incorrectly.

Discipling: More Than a Podcast Preacher by Jonathan Dodson at 9Marks reminds us that discipleship is relational.  The relationship can be lost if replaced by technology.

The concept is nothing new, but a entire new generation could be subjected to it.  Back in the 80’s, an increasing number of television preachers took their sermons or entire services to the airwaves.  If you were shut in, lived in a nursing home, incarcerated or isolated by geography, the t.v. preacher could be a God send.  For others, watching a Sunday morning broadcast took the place of participating in a local church.  Maybe it was easier than getting up and dressed, or maybe it was about avoiding people, the collection plate, etc.  Weblogs and podcasts are excellent tools for sharing the Gospel, but discipleship is relational.  Jesus preached to multitudes, but he also discipled a group of 12, taught in people’s homes and touched the sick.  The church is a community of believers, and we must not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Heb 12:25).

Our Call to Discipleship

studyingAt the end of Matthew’s Gospel (28:16-20) Jesus gives his disciples the Great Commission.  In Mark’s account (16:15), Jesus commands the disciples to “preach the gospel to all creation.”  This was the first verse I ever memorized as a child.  In the King James it reads “to every creature.”  The wording in Matthew is a little different.  We’re not just to preach the gospel, we are to make disciples.  What’s the difference?  Continue reading