One American value that does not help us in our disciplemaking is the idea of rugged individualism. Jesus lived in first-century Eastern culture, which was (and still can be) very relational and communal. Western culture (based on Greek thought), has tended throughout its history to be idea-oriented and individualistic.
In his new NavPress book Go, Preston Sprinkle says, “To live out the Christian faith—to be a faithful disciple and be transformed into Christlikeness—we need other people.”
In Bowling Alone, renowned sociologist Robert Putnam talks about the stark decrease in social interaction and connectedness in the United States over the past 40 years. Where sports leagues, social clubs, hobby clubs and such were prevalent in the middle of the 20th century, they are all but disappeared today. Sprinkle points out that the Industrial Age and the technological revolution have propelled our individualistic spirit.
However—God does not view His human creation in this way. He made us for community.
The writer of Hebrews exhorts the early church to live out of God’s relational design.
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another–and all the more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:24,25 NIV83).
It is God’s intent for people to work together, gather together, and sharpen one another in the process of growing as disciples.
What implications does the Holy Spirit bring to your heart and mind as you consider this for your own life? What implications does this have for our partnership with God in making disciples?