With the advent of simulcasting, especially with Beth Moore and David Platt’s Secret Church, I am starting to notice a developing pattern in Christian discipleship. I call it “Chunk Discipleship.” Chunk in that it is event-oriented happening in a one-day, 5 to 6 hour chunk, instead of weekly meetings such as small group Bible study or Sunday School.
Chunk discipleship is not new by any means. There are plenty of examples in church history where Christians gathered for long periods of uninterrupted time to study God’s word and be challenged in their obedience to Christ.
In more recent days, it was called a “spiritual retreat” where an individual or a group would go away for a long weekend and communion together over the Word. Out of this movement youth camp which was held for 5 days in the summer instead of 3 days over a weekend.
Before weekend retreats, you had “camp meetings” where folks would set up shop for a week or two out in a field somewhere with a tent and a picnic table. They would have preaching services morning, noon, and night interspersed with prayer, meals, and games of horseshoes. Even before those times, Christians would take 2-3 day pilgrimages out into the woods to experience silence and meditation seeking to hear the voice of God without distractions.
Chunk discipleship has its benefits such as focused attention, more exhaustive Bible study than can be accomplished in 1 hour setting, stretching into a particular topic which might otherwise be skipped because of its complexity, intensity of spirit and determined motivation to “get it done.” You have to be serious to spend 6 hours on a Friday night or Saturday morning to delve deep into God’s word on topics like the Church, the Cross, Possession & Wealth, or the Old Testament.
I have only one concern about chunk discipleship. Is the Christian only gaining knowledge of the Word? Is it only a transmission of content? Is it only intake from the Master-Teacher via simulcast or projection screen? What about the necessary component in Christian discipleship of life transformation which comes through personal connection, accountability, and community?
Can I watch 6 hours of David Platt or Beth Moore and walk away the same because no one is calling me out, no one is walking alongside of me as an older brother or sister in Christ, no one is sharpening me as iron sharpens iron. To grow don’t I need someone exhorting and redirecting me in my daily walk.
Undoubtedly I will be more knowledgeable about a subject matter after my 6 hours of chunk discipleship, but will I be changed more into the image of Christ.