Justin Hiebert

Catalyzing Change

Fragmented Faith – Permeating with the spiritual

Posted on 28 Aug 2013 in Christianity, Discipleship, missional theology | 2 comments

Today is part two of a two part series called “Fragmented Faith” which is a look at the totality of the Gospel in our lives and what it means for discipleship. Read part one here.

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The result of fragmented faith has led us to shallow evangelism. It has concerned us more with ‘where people go when they die’ and not so much with ‘how does the Good News speak into their life today?’

What needs to be reclaimed is a model for holistic discipleship. Missional living is about coming alongside people, whereever they are, to bless them with the Good News of the Gospel. It’s not with an agenda, they aren’t a box to be checked off. It’s not about getting them to say a prayer so we can feel good about ourselves.

It is about entering into the mess of their life, and through our own admission of being broken, show them how Jesus can help.

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I had a conversation with someone recently that was exploring faith but had clearly been hurt by the church before. She had questions and wanted a safe place to ask them and explore what it means to follow Jesus.

And most of her questions were the contemporary political and theological questions of the day. Everything from homosexuality in the church to the crisis in the Middle East to the end of the world to having good, life-giving friendships.

You could tell by the way she asked questions that she had been argued with and put down for these questions and her perspective.

In our rather lengthy conversation, I kept repeating one thing that is at the heart of the way I want to treat all people.

I don’t care about getting you to agree with me. I care about making sure you walk away from this conversation being closer to Jesus. If you do that, I’ve done my job.

I wasn’t particularly interested in getting her to say a prayer, come to our church, or be baptized. At that moment I was most interested in coming along side her, sitting with her in her pain, doubt, questions, and fear, and finding a way to reveal to her a savior that is so incredibly in love with her she will be blown away by it. When we enter into people’s lives in that manner, we treat them not as tasks or an agenda item, but as people created in the image of God, valued for who they are, who made them, and the uniqueness of their personality.

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For us to be able to sit with people in that manner, we first have to have experienced that directly from Jesus. When we treat the Bible as nothing more than a set of mental facts to be ascribed to, we get converts that are great at scaring the hell out of people, but terrible at discipling them to be like Jesus. When we come at them with some evangelistic zeal and come across as spiritual superiors, we devalue their human nature.

In order to live missionally, we can no longer fragment the spiritual side of our lives from everything else. We don’t have a ‘saved’ side and a ‘human’ side, we need to have one complete and redeemed person that God loves, works through, and disciples.

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Justin Hiebert

Leadership Catalyst - Entrepreneur - Coach at JSHiebert Leadership Coaching
I am a Business and Life Coach in both non-profit and for profit settings. I coach leaders, executives, and pastors in areas of vision, clarity, and values. In relationship coaching I focus on healthy and sustainable relationships, and in leadership development roles I catalyze change for individuals and groups to thrive. I also consult churches and organizations on how to train new leaders and create a healthy culture. In addition to that, I am an Anabaptist pastor in the Denver metro area. I specialize on topics that include: missional theology, discipleship, culture and the church in today’s society. I am married to my wonderful wife Elise and we have three kids. I grew up and now work in the United States Mennonite Brethren Church (USMB) and love the people and history of the Mennonite Brethren faith. I am a graduate of Tabor College with a dual degree in Youth Ministry and Christian Leadership, a graduate of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary with a Masters of Divinity, and a Doctoral Student and Bethel Seminary. I also teach college classes in areas of Bible, Communication, and Business.

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  • Elise Hiebert

    While running the other day, I was struck with the thought that God made creation for us to constantly enjoy WITH Him. He eagerly waits for us to make the decision to join him in fellowship. This idea goes with being missional in that it’s not a “prayer”, or “one really awesome moment”, or anything superficial. It’s a realization that God wants to commune with us every single human every minute of every second of every day and in every situation. And in a world that shuns Jesus and any kind of “set rules” or anything that tells us we can’t do it by ourselves, it is crucial that we help each other (Christian/non-Christian) to realize that we do not need to struggle with life on our own. Christ has given us #1 Himself! #2 the Church body (another himself) and #3 creation to help. He wants to consume us so that we can fully understand why he made us! Mmmm, this makes me happy to write : )

  • This is why I love my job working with Youth for Christ. It is the daily contact, the relationships, the holistic connections built, day by day leading students closer to Jesus. I started my relationship with my wife in September of 1996, it took a while for us to connect, commit, and ultimately become husband and wife. The same is true with Christ. Great read, thanks.

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