Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pastor's Circle - Kyle Idleman

Kyle Idleman is the teaching pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY. He joined The Matt Friedeman Show to discuss the ideas behind his book Not A Fan. Below are the "CliffsNotes" of his interview.

What's the difference between a fan and a follower?
We understand the idea of a fan as a fan of a celebrity or a sports figure. We cheer for them from the sidelines. I've seen this mentality slip into the faith.

Fan is defined as "an enthusiastic admirer". Jesus wasn't into gathering enthusiastic admirers so much.
How do we fall into becoming mere "fans"?
It's natural in the sense that we don't want to completely commit because we're afraid of what it will cost us. In romantic relationships, there are plenty of people who are afraid to go all the way in.

When it comes to a relationship with Christ, we tend to not want to go too far. That scares us. But Jesus says that when we die to ourselves, that opens us up to life.
How many Christians today are fans instead of followers?
I think there are some stats that give indications of that. If you look at statistics that talk about what people think about Jesus being the only way, or the morality of Christianity, I think it becomes clear that a lot of people are "fans". They like Jesus, but they don''t want to go all the way.

One of the things I try to do in the book is go through a list of more objective indicators. It's a hard question to ask of yourself.
One thing you suggest is taking an "honest diagnosis." What does that entail?
I think what we're talking about in that is how we measure our relationship with Christ. What I've really tried to do in the book is go through and look at different examples of how Jesus measured people. 
One example would be in John 6, when Jesus has just finished feeding the multitudes. He has lots of fans. The next morning, they go to Him for more, and he essentially tells them that the free bread line has closed. He makes them decide if He is enough.

By looking at some different examples in the Gospels, I think we can get an understanding of what we should look like.
You talk about passionate pursuit. What does that mean?
The invitations of Jesus to follow. The imagery is sometimes used of a young man courting a woman, where there is passionate pursuit. We began that journey as a family and a church family. We really began looking at what it meant to follow Jesus in that way.

Some things are more dramatic. People will write in to tell us that they sold their car to help a single mom. Some friends of ours decided to sell their business and move to the Dominican Republic to do water projects. 
Some things are more radical in nature, and other times it's just going across the street to help your neighbor. On our website, you can read testimonies about how God has been working.
What are you doing to make these disciples?
It's a big question. We want Jesus to be our model. We want to follow in His steps. His model of disciple-making was to build relationships. We try to imitate that.

We tend to want to do discipleship by way of programs and classes, and there's a place for that, but it all really needs to be about relationships. We believe that's how the multiplication process works. We want to make disciples who will make disciples.

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