>A while back, when and where exactly I don’t remember, I came across a quote from John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist movement in the 18th century, which he basically said that not building mature disciples is merely begetting babes for the slaughter. The idea is that if people come to accept Christ, and we fail them by not discipling them into mature disciples, they are defenseless babies in an anti-Christian world. They are ill prepared for the tricks of the Tempter and are easy prey. Did you ever watch one of those nature shows on hyenas? They always go after the littlest wildebeest. Why is that? Because they are a whole lot easier to catch. Did you ever notice what tends to happen when the adults hang around and protect the child? It almost always escapes its fate of being the next filet mignon for the jokers of the animal kingdom.

I’m currently reading Postmodern Youth Ministry by Tony Jones. Now, while the format tends to drive me a little bonkers (it’s is the epitome of postmodern literary formats – atypical and slightly weird), the nice thing is that there are occasional quotes from people who clearly read the manuscript and have an opportunity to throw in their thoughts along the way. At one point, Tony talks about going to an evangelism conference and sharing the Four Spiritual Laws with a person at a local mall. The person decided that it made sense and prayed the canned prayer at the end of the booklet. There was a place on the back of the booklet for someone to write down the name and number of a local church. Tony, not being from the area, left that space empty. He did not know of any churches near the mall. He says that he felt guilty for doing that. He has no way of knowing whether or not this person actually went on to live a redeemed Christian life.

Rudy Carrasco has a quote at this point in the book: “In urban ministry, we call this the ‘gospel playboy’ approach. The gospel playboy makes spiritual babies but then abandons them, leaving them spiritually orphaned. Just as real-life playboys leave children fatherless, gospel playboys also hurt new believers when they fail to connect them to the Body of Christ” (PMYM, 122).

Wow. I mean… wow… What a great analogy though. People are making spiritual babies, then leaving them alone to fend for themselves. We are so driven by the numbers game in today’s churches, so obsessed with the idea that everybody has to hear the gospel and accept Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Savior, that we develop these evangelistic tools that eventually do nothing but create spiritual babies, then we abandon them because they are “saved.” Even hyenas take care of their young. Sure, they may be scavengers and heartless killers of cute, innocent little wildebeests, but at least they take care of their young. Are we doing that? Are we caring for the spiritual babies that we’ve produced, or are we leaving them unprotected in a world full of hyenas?

Just some musings from a traveling pilgrim.

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