We're doing a lot of talking these days as a church staff about what it looks like to develop Christ-centered people. It's actually a tough conversation because it's so easy to fall into legalism by prescribing things the Scripture doesn't require. When I think of a Christ-centered person, most of us naturally think of:

1. Someone who reads their Bible every day.
2. Someone who goes to church each week.
3. Someone who is involved in (perhaps leading) a small group.
4. Someone who gives 10 percent of their income to ministry.
5. Someone who goes on mission trips.

Those five things are good things to be sure, but reflect a limited (and probably legalistic) perspective on Christ-centeredness.

Could a person without access to a copy of the Scriptures in their language be Christ-centered? If so, #1 cannot be criteria for Christ-centerdness.

Could a person in a remote village in Zambia without a church in their village or adequate transportation be Christ-centered? If so, #2 and #5 cannot be criteria.

Could a person in the twelfth century, prior to the small group model of ministry, be Christ-centered? If so, we should not make #3 criteria for Christ-centeredness.

Could a person with zero monthly income be Christ-centered? If they could, we don't want to leave them out. #4 must not be a true criteria for distinguishing Christ-centeredness.

If Christ-centeredness is the goal, and the goal is realistic for all Christians in all places at all times, we might need to re-evaluate what that looks like in light of the Scriptures.

So what do you think? Are there biblical traits within a person we could examine to measure Christ-centeredness? When you think of your own desire to be Christ-centeredness, how do you measure your progress? Are you using a biblical or cultural standard?


Josh and Aub said...

The Union small groups will be going through this in the fall,( It is a great tool to getting to the heart of the Gospel. It might be helpful for tackling this question.

chloeadele said...

All I can really think of, that I would search myself for to see if I was being Christ-centered, is growth.

I want to say that I'd be patient if I was Christ-centered, but we all have bad days and live in a fallen world, and I don't think a moment of impatience should discard someone's attempt or desire to be more Christ-centered. So instead, I think that I'd want to see that I'm MORE patient than I was before.

That I'd be MORE content, MORE joyful, MORE giving, MORE compassionate...

Perhaps seeing these traits growing in someone could be a sign that they are trying to be Christ-centered. We can't always get it right, but if we're becoming more grateful, more humble - then I'd assume we are focusing more on Christ.

I'm pretty sure there's not a universal 5-Steps-to-a-More-Christ-Centered-Congregation. We all grow at different paces and by adopting different spiritual disciplines. At least, that's what I would assume. I also imagine that even if someone is reading their Bible daily, attending church and small groups weekly, giving 10% and going on the occasional mission trip, that they could still fail to be Christ-centered.

Because all of those things can be done without a relationship with God.