Brad Watson has some good stuff, and I really love this post about the essential practices of those who wish to follow Jesus. We’ve confused ourselves with what’s essential. For instance, I was on a youth retreat this weekend and there are many people in the life of churches who would view a youth retreat as “essential”–and, because of this, it brought me great satisfaction that we had one. And, while good stuff can happen on retreat and discipleship can happen, it’s not essential to a vibrant ministry. So, what are the essentials? Brad provides an answer based on…guess what…the Bible. He looks at Acts chapter 2:
What makes Acts 2 a significant passage for us is it gives us a picture not of the ideal but the essentials. The practices of the Jerusalem church are the practices of discipleship and are affirmed in the way Jesus discipled and in the rest of the New Testament. The things this gospel community does are the things we will do if we are formed in the gospel. What are they exactly?
- Eating together
- Praying together
- Caring for one another
- Learning the Bible together
- Caring for the poor together
- Inviting others to repent and believe together
- Multiplying: being sent or sending
These are the core activities a community does together to learn the gospel, learn our identity, and get equipped for living the gospel in daily life. There’s nothing sexy or groundbreaking about this list. It’s a list of Christian basics that you would find in “new believer” classes all over the world. It sounds more like historical church than cutting edge strategy, because it is historical faith in practice. This is the stuff the Puritans wrote about, and Francis outlined as he established his monastic orders.
So, there’s a list for us. And now I’m left to question whether any of this was done at our youth retreat…