Invitation to a Journey

If you have participated in the life of our congregation in recent months, you are aware of the sermon series this past fall around the Sermon on the Mount. Some of that series was based upon The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard. Not only did I read the book, I also co-taught a Bible study based upon the writing. I immersed myself in the series and the book. And I experienced a significant moment of conviction.

It happened in the later chapters of the book, when Willard discusses true discipleship and how that might look in our lives and in our churches. I’ll try and boil it down to two quotes.

“It is now generally acknowledged…that one can be a professing Christian and a church member in good standing without being a disciple. There is, apparently, no real connection between being a Christian and being a disciple of Jesus.”

Or, stated more personally—just because I have been baptized, attend church every Sunday, and even work for the church—does not mean I continue to seek out transformative moments in my life so that I might live more like Jesus. And, as a minister, I was convicted by the fact that we do not offer many opportunities in the life of our church to discuss how we might be transformed. We want to believe that by showing up for activities, that transformation is happening (I’m not saying it can’t or won’t, we simply aren’t being clear about the goal).

And the second quote—“Nondiscipleship is the elephant in the church. It is not the much-discussed moral failures, financial abuses, or the amazing general similarity between Christians and non-Christians. These are only effects of the underlying problem. The fundamental negative reality among Christian believers now is their failure to be constantly learning how to live their lives in The Kingdom Among Us. And it is an accepted reality.”

In my conviction, I took a next step. I picked up the book Invitation to a Journey—A Road Map for Spiritual Formation by Robert Mulholland, and it has created in me a new space to allow God to continue transforming my life. And I feel better, spiritually speaking, than I have in many years.

So I extend this opportunity to you—join with others in reading through Invitation to a Journey. For those who are able, we will meet on Sunday and Wednesday nights (starting Jan 9 and 12) to review the questions after each chapter. And if you can’t be with us, read the book anyway! If you are interested in more information regarding times and outline for our discussions, please email me at jwalls@fbcaugusta.org. It is my belief the way you will feel more fully alive—and that our church will live fully into its calling in our community—is when we truly pursue being transformed into the image of Christ.

Jim Walls

Associate Pastor

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