PASTOR'S BLOG / Moving from 'Christians' to Followers to Jesus

Moving from ‘Christians’ to Followers of Jesus

In our rapidly changing culture, believers in Jesus Christ are being called upon to reexamine how we relate to our world.  We have mentioned many times that it is not sufficient any longer to call ourselves ‘Christians’ because of all of the misunderstandings associated with the term in our culture.  It has come to mean more about religion than relationship.  ‘Christian’ doesn’t describe for people how we live our lives, as much as it describes a box that we check when choosing our religion.  As followers of Jesus Christ, we are not trying to say that we have one religion among many.  We are hoping to share with others the One Way, the One Person who alone can change their life- the Lord Jesus Christ.

Beyond the semantics is a much bigger idea- that of living out our faith in ways that help us bring salvation to our culture.  Dallas Willard highlights this need for change when he writes, “The greatest issue facing the world today, with all its heartbreaking needs, is whether those who, by profession or culture, are identified as ‘Christians’ will become disciples – students, apprentices, practitioners – of Jesus Christ, steadily learning from him how to live the life of the Kingdom of the Heavens into every corner of human existence.” ( Dallas WillardThe Great Omission: Reclaiming Jesus's Essential Teachings on Discipleship).

Notice what Dallas says here.  The issue is whether you and I will begin to see ourselves, and our lives, differently related to Jesus.  Will we stop playing at religion and become steady learners of Jesus Christ?  This is what our world needs more than anything else!

It is interesting how names and actions go together.  If a name and an action are lined up, than we are an authentic person, and our identity becomes aligned as well.  For instance, many people call themselves surfers because they surf regularly.  If they do this often enough it will begin to be part of their identity.  They will say things like, “Yeah, I’m a surfer.”  Now let’s apply this to following Jesus.  If a new believer has not really begun to learn of Jesus, as a student, apprentice or practitioner, they will not be likely to call themselves a disciple or follower of Jesus.  But if they are putting the time in with Jesus, living as a student of His, and doing it often enough, they will easily say, “Yeah, I’m a follower of Jesus.”

So, if we believe what Dallas is saying, and we believe that we are living in a rapidly changing culture with new and different needs, than we should take this to heart.  We need to be students, apprentices, and practitioners of the Lord Jesus!  This needs to characterize us so steadily that our identity becomes consumed by it.

Hear Jesus, “Jesus said to the people who believed in Him, ‘You are truly My disciples if you remain faithful to My teachings.  And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

Are you content to check the box with ‘Christian’, or are you on the journey as a student, learner and apprentice of the Lord Jesus?  

GeoSigThumbGeorge Hulse

Lead Pastor