In light of recent events, Tim Challies might want to choose a different set of metaphors:
“How?” people ask. “How do we make this happen in our churches? I’ve always believed that prayerful, word-driven ‘vine work’ was the essence of ministry, and you’ve reminded me of that. But how do we get our people fired up to be doing that—to be ‘disciple-making disciples’?”
In other words, if prayerful teaching of the Bible is the basic method of ministry, by which God transforms people, then how (one wonders) might we see our people and our church challenged and changed and transformed to live a different vision of the Christian life?
The answer seems pretty obvious when you ask it like that: by patiently and prayerfully slashing away at each other’s dull, sinful hearts with the sharp, two-edged sword of the word of God.
This is how God changes people. Why would we imagine that our church would change in any other way? [emphasis OL]