The growing climate crisis hangs like a dark shadow over our collective planetary future. We can hear the rumblings of the storm, and its winds have already begun to pick up and blow things around in our present world. The global scientific community has said that 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels is the maximum global …
The Need for Missional Christians in Urban Areas It ended up being one of the worst meals of my life. Mark, a friend who helped me at Main Street Chapel, an inner-city ministry, invited me to a local restaurant. I had no clue of his purpose, but it soon became evident when he let me …
Some claim that Ferguson and Staten Island demonstrate the existence of racist structures that permeate our society. Others claim that these killings resulted from criminal behavior or “a lack of personal responsibility.” While both positions point to contributing factors, they both continue to ignore culture – a factor that dwarfs the previous two.
The national conversation in the wake of Ferguson cannot ignore the voice of a crucial subject matter expert, the urban disciple maker. What does the urban disciple maker see that simplistic analyses from outsider pundits can’t? How does she lead the way forward through the treacherous gauntlet of nihilistic culture, organized crime, pulpit pimps, sexual and familial confusion, prison industrial complex, race hustlers, destructive public policy, government-funded dependency, etc.?
This article will address (1) how mentors may biblically affirm a disciple’s physical cultural differences within a dominant culture’s message that there is something inherently flawed in his or her design, (2) how theology addresses a body/spirit symbiosis relevant to identity dissonance, and (3) how mentors may move a disciple from identity dissonance to identity satisfaction through a holistic application of Scripture.
Modern Western evangelicalism is experiencing a crisis of discipleship and gospel witness because of its perception of spiritual maturity in almost exclusively individualistic terms. The Scriptures, however, conceive of spirituality and growth in corporate terms. The leader’s role, then, is not to disciple a select few, but to create a culture of mutual discipleship, resulting in communities of genuine grace and repentance. Western churches need to recapture this community approach to discipleship to combat the crisis.