What is the church doing? (Renovation of the Heart Chapter 13)

What does all this talk of transformation mean when it comes to the church? How are we to take this concept of transformation and apply it to the church? Because, in the end, we are not meant to seek transformation apart from the community of the church.
Willard centers on three parts of Matthew 28:18-20:

1. Makes disciples. Make apprentices of Jesus. This means the church’s task is much more than convincing someone to pray a prayer. As Willard says, “Disciples of Jesus are those who are with Him learning to be like Him.” Learning to be like Christ is what disciples come to understand as they gather together as a church community.

2. Immerse apprentices at all levels of growth in God’s presence (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). The point of the church community is to encounter the presence of God. We should expect church to “be a place where divine life and power is manifestly present to glorify God and meet the needs of repentant beings.”

3. Transform disciples inwardly so that their words and deeds reflect the reality that they belong to Christ. Disciples are changed from the inside out as they learn and live in the presence of God. They implement the things required to continue to follow Christ.

And yet, discipleship seems to be the very thing that is missing in the modern church. From my experience, and the experience of most people I talk to, is that we no longer expect people to live out the message people claim they believe. This is because the bar of ‘Christianity’ has been set so low that people do not know what is expected of them or how to accomplish what is expected.
So, a return to this core message is needed in order to understand what it means to be a disciple of Christ. We need to learn again what it means to be the church.

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