Our Great Lack

Written by on November 3, 2010

I was recently reminded of the importance of the work we do here at VP3 while re-reading a short column by Pastor Gordon MacDonald entitled “Leader’s Insight: So Many Infant Christians” (October 1, 2007, christianitytoday.com).  MacDonald’s thoughts flow from his musings upon a quote by Martin Thorton, which begins this article. Thorton observes,

“A walloping great congregation is fine and fun, but what most communities really need is a couple saints. The tragedy is that they may well be there in embryo, waiting to be discovered, waiting for sound training, waiting to be emancipated from the cult of the mediocre.”  

Thorton’s need for “a couple saints” launches MacDonald into an exploration of the present lack of Christian maturity in our evangelical congregations.  MacDonald defines these “saints” or mature believers as those  “who walk through all the corridors of the larger life—the marketplace, the home and community, the playing fields—and do it in such a way that, sooner or later, it is concluded that Jesus’ fingerprints are all over them.” The question then that troubles MacDonald is, “Why are we [evangelicals] so good at leading people to faith and so bad at prodding them to maturity?” There are just too many Christians who never grow beyond infancy into maturity.  So much of our ministry at VP3 flows from the need that MacDonald is lamenting here. And we deeply resonate with his response to this Ephesians 4:14-16 need…”we must grow up into him…” He continues,

” …mature Christians do not grow through programs or through the mesmerizing delivery of a talented speaker or worship band. Would-be saints are mentored: one on one or, better yet, one on small group (three to twelve was Jesus best guess)…Mature Christians are made one by one through the influence of other Christians already mature.”

We find ourselves immersed in the work of developing mentoring processes that help churches and organizations link these mature believers with other hungry believers in dynamic, life upon life, learning communities. May many people and congregations around North America continue to sense with MacDonald God’s Spirit inviting them to deepen and mature and grow up into Christ…

When you get some time, sink into MacDonald’s full article:


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