renovatechurch.com
What Does Wikipedia Have To Do With Discipleship? - Renovate Church
Where do you go when you need information quickly? Like millions of people around the world, many times I’ll go to Wikipedia, the world’s largest free online encyclopedia. I love being able to type in any subject or person and immediately get the key information I need. While it may seem as though Wikipedia had overnight success, it was actually a bit of an accident. In 2000, Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger started an online encyclopedia called Nupedia. The goal was for Nupedia to include contributions written by experts. Before an article could be posted, it had to go through a rigorous scholarly review process that could take many months. This strategy proved to be painstakingly slow and ineffective. When Nupedia unplugged it’s servers in 2003 only twenty-four articles had been posted while another seventy-four were in the review process. There weren’t very many articles but the ones posted were scholarly and professional. In 2001, one year after Nupedia launched, Wales and Sanger started Wikipedia as a feeder system for Nupedia. The world “wiki” actually comes from the Hawaiin word meaning “quick”. Their idea was to allow non-professionals and non-experts the ability to contribute and write articles that the Nupedia scholars would review. By the end of 2001, volunteers had submitted more than 20,000 articles. It took the experts three years to create twenty-four articles and the non-experts one year to create 20,000 articles. Crazy! According to the most recent statistics, contributors from around the world have submitted 35 million articles in 288 different languages. As of February 2014 there had been 18 billion page views and nearly 500 million unique visitors each month. Do you see this? Wikipedia exploded because it went viral and people were empowered. Surprisingly, most surveys reveal that the information submitted by volunteers was as accurate as traditional encyclopedia entries. So what does any of this have to do with church planting and discipleship? A lot. Unfortunately, many churches today function much more like Nupedia than Wikipedia. They knowingly or unknowingly create ministry structures and environments where only the “experts” or “paid staff” can lead or be empowered in ministry. Volunteers are expected to just show up, sit in the pews, contribute financially, and serve in the more menial tasks of ministry, but they cannot be entrusted with discipleship or expected to make disciples. Discipleship should be left to the paid professionals. Really? This wasn’t Jesus pattern or vision. Jesus made disciples and commanded ALL of us to go and make disciples in Matthew 28:19, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” I believe Jesus saw the church as a movement much more like Wikipedia where each believer was empowered and able to contribute to the mission. This is what made the early church so powerful. Imagine if the situation in the church were reversed. Imagine if every believer, not just the experts, were engaged in the Great Commission and discipleship. Imagine if every believer just made one or two disciples in the next year, the amount …