Some years ago, I asked the leaders of our church to do a little exercise with me. I fabricated two imaginary people, one a man and the other a woman. Since this is First Presbyterian Church, I named the man "First Phil" and the woman "First Phyllis." I suggested that we think of each of them as a composite of the kind of person who participates in the life of First Presbyterian Church.
And I asked the question: What do we want to happen to them while they are here at our church? What kind of people are we trying to produce? Assuming that our church has some kind of impact on people, what do we want that impact to be? Every church – every organization, for that matter – is possessed of a certain climate. What does our church’s climate do to the First Phils and First Phyllises who breathe its air? How do we affect people? How do we want to affect them?
Now, I’m thinking that, since we are a church, what we want to do is: We want to influence Phil and Phyllis to be functional, effective disciples of Jesus Christ. After all, isn’t that the mandate that Jesus gave us in the first place? We call it the Great Commission: "Go, therefore, and make disciples... ." So, is that what we’re doing?
And how would we know? Do we have any idea what a functional, effective disciple would look like? What are the qualities that we would observe in First Phil and First Phyllis if it were all working?
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