a bit monkish.
I’m thinking a lot about discipleship these days, and I hope to focus on this topic in the coming weeks.
The approach appears straightforward enough. The focus of local churches is to create programs in local churches that encourage members of the congregation to grow spiritually in various ways: Biblical knowledge, sound financial stewardship, devotional life, service to others, etc. This pattern exists in thousands of North American congregations. What can be called "Targeted Discipleship," this approach focuses on specific areas of the Christian life in an attempt to foster lasting change in those areas.
Lately I've been contemplating a different approach, something I call "Trickle-down Discipleship." The basic premise goes something like this: Introduce people to Jesus in a way that allows Christ to become not the most important part of their life, but their very life (Colossians 3:4), and the various means of Christian growth will "trickle-down," permeating their being. For example, instead of having an annual budget pledge drive or a capital campaign, focus your energies on holy living through Jesus Christ and let the Holy Spirit work. I've seen this first-hand in local churches I've served. Jesus becomes the center of attention instead of classes about how to do the work of Jesus.
The "Targeted Discipleship" approach has the danger of focusing on our own efforts to become Christ-like. Not only can this lead to works-righteousness, it has the odor of karma from the Hindu religion, in which good things come to those who do good things.
The focus of “Trickle-Down Discipleship” is that our relationship with Christ becomes as natural as our own breath. In fact, we can’t even imagine our own existence without Christ.
My hope is to see less programming in local churches and more saturating of Jesus in Christians' lives. The goal of this is not a healthy church, but a transformation of the culture around us through the power of the Holy Spirit.
After all, a local church shouldn't exist for itself, right?
(c) 2016 Michael C. Voigts
When I was a kid, I put everything I could find in my pockets just in case I needed them. Of course, when I needed something in my pocket, it took me a few minutes to sort through everything to find it. Some women’s purses are that way.
I’ve discovered that using the Apple Watch is like having too many things in your pocket. You know what’s there, but it’s overwhelming trying to find one particular item. Shortly after I wrote my review of the Apple Watch, I stopped wearing the device because it was like having an iPhone on my wrist, and I didn’t need an iPhone on my wrist when I had one in my hand.
Last week I was sent an LG Urbane watch to review. This is one of several new Android watches which just recently have been made compatible with an iPhone through a free, downloadable app from the App Store. I’ve used the watch for about a week now, and for me it’s a perfect compliment to my iPhone.
What you may have read about the marriage between an Android watch and an iPhone is true: The apps are limited to what are already installed on the watch. However, what I’ve discovered is that I don’t miss having 100+ watch apps. iPhone notifications pop up on my watch, as do phone calls and text messages. The Android software comes with weather, a health app, calendars, email, a flashlight, and other apps, including several watch faces.
Setup was a breeze. I downloaded the Android Wear app and it began syncing with my watch almost immediately. I was then able to toggle which notifications I wanted on the watch, choose a watch face, and I was ready to go.
The battery life on the LG Urbane is similar to that of the Apple Watch, as is the charging time. However, the watch face is on all the time, so I never have to shake my wrist to activate the screen.
I like the circular shape of the watch’s 1.3 inch OLED display, and the included leather band with contrasting stitching looks sharp and professional (you can attach any 22mm wrist strap to the watch). The pedometer and other health apps seem to work well enough, although I haven’t really tested all of their capabilities.
For what I need a smartwatch to do, the LG Urbane running Android Wear works great with my iPhone. And with an audible, “OK Google,” I can set calendar items, search the web, set an alarm or reminder, or find the closest Starbucks.
An Android watch with my iPhone is a great way for me to keep the clutter of my wrist and keep this busy pastor organized. For me, this seemingly awkward relationship is a winner.
(c) 2016 Michael C. Voigts
I'm a follower of Christ serving as an Associate Professor of Spiritual Formation at Asbury Theological Seminary.