Obedience to the Great Commission requires understanding systems …



Theme and Learning Goals

            Creation is constantly changing, and change is a part of creation’s intelligent design. Balance is maintained in nature by systems; systems pervade all of creation, including human behavior and culture. Spirituality is not a static reality but a journey of growth; conversion is a change, evangelism is a change, and learning is a change. Grace, whether prevenient, justifying, or sanctifying, is a process of change; therefore, grace and the gospel are always extraordinary, entering systems as foreign influences contrary to the status quo. Change comes to a system first as new information, then as new decisions, and finally as new behaviors. Obedience to the Great Commission requires understanding systems and how to further change within systems of human culture; most planned change initiatives fail.[1] Scientific, sociological study of systems, culture, and change, therefore, is a valuable resource in forming an ecclesiology which seeks to reproduce the discipleship system taught by Jesus in the New Testament. That discipleship system is designed with a dual function.  It overcomes resistance to change as it makes disciples in the manner specified by the four requirements of the Great Commission.[2]





[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at www.disciplewalk.com/Resources.html. In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through CreateSpace.com.

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

[1]Peter M. Senge et al., The Dance of Change: The Challenges to Sustaining Momentum in Learning Organizations (New York: Doubleday, 1999), 5-6.

[2]Planned change is not normally a theme of dogmatic theology focused on unchanging, absolute

 truths. An evolving creation informing theology is a key concept, however, in process theology. Process theology, however, does not usually address issues of church growth theory and evangelism. Cf. John B. Cobb, Jr., Process Theology, http://www.processandfaith.org/resources/Cobb%20On%20Process% 20Theology.shtml (accessed June 13, 2007). Cf. John B. Cobb, Jr., Wesley the Process Theologian, www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1097 (accessed June 13, 2007).

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