I actually finished this book (and began the review) on Friday, but I wanted to wait to post it after I posted details about my job, so now that you know about the job, here goes the review :) When I first interviewed with Redeemer, I put this book on my list of “to read” books. Pastor Foss gave me a copy when I went down the second time, and I am so grateful to have had a chance to read it. Because there is so much in this book I wanted to talk about, I’ve broken the book review up into sections.
Membership vs. Discipleship
Foss discusses that in a membership driven congregation, the focus is what the members of the congregation want/need/etc. In a discipleship driven congregation, the focus is on what God is calling us to do (or not to do). We can’t be aware of what God is calling us to unless we become disciples. The focus is on spiritual development of the people in the congregation. Not necessarily on making them happy, but on encouraging, and expecting, them to grow in their faith by practicing the six marks of discipleship.
What are the Six Marks of Discipleship?
Power Surge is named after the six marks of discipleship. Pray daily, Worship weekly, Read the Bible daily, Serve, both inside and outside a congregation, being a part of Relationships and Christian community, and Giving (tithing). Foss believes that if a church, and members of that church (or disciples in that church) practice these six marks of discipleship, the congregation will experience a power surge.
Personal Thoughts and Reflection
I related to a lot of what was written in this book. What I didn’t realize while I was at First Lutheran in Ohio, but I realized as I was reading, is that the “corporate” model First was using as a leadership model is the same model that Foss uses and describes as a discipleship model. It makes so much more sense to me being grounded in the marks of discipleship rather than thinking of the church as being “corporate”. I also realized that the mission developers here in Blairsville are also using some parts of this discipleship model; although it’s never been introduced as such.
The discipleship model that he speaks of makes so much sense to me. To me, my faith is all about my relationship with God. My relationship with God cannot grow or expand its depth unless I’m reading the Bible, spending time in prayer, etc. Before my time of unemployment, I had a relationship with God, and I thought about God often, but my personal relationship with God had been more distant than I would have liked. Vocare showed me the importance of community in my spiritual growth and my relationship with God – I can better understand my relationship with God if I have relationships with other people who show me pictures of God in their words and actions. I have always understood the connection between serving and my relationship with God, and I’m pretty good at the worship part. Even though we haven’t been part of a congregation while we were here in Blairsville, I always tried to take time to worship God through music and conversation (which I guess is prayer). The giving part is the hardest for me – when you live paycheck to paycheck like we do, it requires a lot of faith to give up 10% of what you’re getting. I’m trying to remember that what I get is not mine in the first place, and if I give it back to God, then God will take care of making sure I have what I need. It requires smarter choices, and less consumerism. These are good things to learn, but to me, the hardest.
Although I got a lot out of this book as an individual, it seems to be best read in the context of a congregational (or small group) study. There are some great reflection questions included at the end of each chapter, which I’m sure would spark some very interesting discussion among group members. If any of you have read this book and/or have participated in a study group of this book, I’d love to hear your thoughts and reviews