“So then, brothers, we are debtors…” Romans 8:12 (ESV)

You loan your uncle $500, and he writes you a promissory note as proof of the obligation to pay you back. 

Ten minutes later your uncle comes back and tells you “I’d like to buy that promissory note for $600.” Odd? 

Phil Gramm, a retired US Senator in a recent Wall Street Journal article claims the Fed—the banking arm of the US government—now owns a third of all US government debt. “Quantitative easing” they call it.

In other words, the public debt, issued by the US government, is being substantially bought and held by…the US government. Circular logic? 

Expecting a church to do the discipling is like the US government buying its own debt. 

The government is not intended to carry its own debt, and the Church is not designed to be the leading edge of discipling. You are.

The research says 59% of Millennials and younger are walking away from faith – a record number. 93% of the rest of us in the pews? We’re unwilling or unable to describe why we believe what we believe.

82% of believers are “inert”, as in no study, no faith community, no prayer. Nada.

The popular notion is that the “debt” of being a disciple is on the church. Much like the federal debt is the problem of the government.

Yet “them” is actually “me”. We are the disciples, and disciples collectively are a church, the Church.

Here is the role of leaders in a church: To help us all realize, then live out the lives of disciples, developing, and helping others consider the Lord we serve.

Discipleship is not church membership or church activities. Those are symptoms, not cause.

We do need discipling through sermons, ministries and missions as “continuing ed”. 

But we cannot load up the church with our personal debt. The debt of following and serving Christ belongs to each of us individually.

The leadership challenge is not in being the sole disciplemaker – the leadership challenge is in developing a mission, culture and joy for your people to each take on their own walk as a disciple. 

Let the Church be the Church, and let the disciple take up with joy the yoke – the debt – Jesus intended for each of us.

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© 2024 Dennis Allen | Morgan James Publishing

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January 2022 segement: Catch and Release Christianity