In this continuing series, Mark Beeson compares people's passion for recycling to their passion for church. And he reflects back on the history of Methodism to explain the discipleship process at Granger. This is a Q&A from the July/August 2007 issue of Good News Magazine (GNM).
GNM: What are [seekers and young people] looking for in a worship experience and church home?
Mark Beeson: People are looking for connection and community; they long for a place where their life has purpose. They want real friends, real faith and a personal experience that transcends their temporal existence. If they don’t find it at church, they simply go elsewhere. Millions are more passionate about PETA and recycling than they are about church.
We are all hard-wired with a sense of destiny; the church that helps people value life (their own and others) will help people find their significance in God and fulfill their destiny.
GNM: What is your model or vision for discipleship?
Mark Beeson: No one ever drifts to greatness. Want to be a great musician? Methodical practice is required. Do you long for athletic prowess? You must train, and train methodically. Building a great marriage, a great family, a great friendship or a great career requires the ongoing discipline of methodical effort. Wesley had it right; the methodical practice of scriptural holiness is the way to maturity.
Just as God calls us into community, Wesley called his “awakened” to live in community. Iron sharpens iron and Wesley knew the best strategy for discipleship included the honesty (and sharpening effect) of Christ-centered friendships. At Granger, we embrace that pattern. Our vision of discipleship resonates with the inevitable results found in the synergistic power of collaboration and community.
Our best practices for discipleship are rooted deeply in Wesley’s model for advancements made through methodical community disciplines. Determined followers of Jesus, routinely gathering for prayer, worship, service, study and accountability experience dramatic growth in a remarkably short time. At Granger, we envision discipleship as the consequence of similar life-on-life experiences.
We help every person at Granger do five things:
- We want everyone to have friends who follow Christ and be a Christian friend. We launch new groups for new people every month.
- We want everyone to serve at least once a month. We offer an easy “first serve opportunity” – called 2nd Saturday – to help everyone get involved.
- We want people to read their Bibles on a regular basis. Every weekend message is accompanied by a daily devotional guide that helps people consider the scriptures each day.
- We want every person to invest in the lives of others and invite them to church. We make every weekend a safe place for newcomers to the experience a dangerous message…that just might change their lives.
- We want everyone to worship God. We constantly reiterate the value of doing the next right thing. We teach everyone to take their next step toward Christ…together.
Previously, I reprinted Mark Beeson's answers to these questions...