What if the way that we present "becoming a Christian" or "getting saved" is acutally producing people who are MORE self centered than less? What if all our focus on an event that makes it possible for you to go to Heaven (or "not Hell") when you die is producing people who embrace that fact but coundn't care less about becoming like Jesus? Is it possible that we've made mental agreement with certain propositional ideas our highest goal at the expense of the apprenticeship (discipleship) of Jesus and the mission of the Kingdom of God?
The current method for evangelsim works something like this: Bring your friends to one of our events (or if you are really brave talk to them yourself). There they will hear about an amazing propostition. They (your friends) are all sinners bound for Hell when they die. But Jesus came and died for them so that they could, instead, go to Heaven when they die...and they get an amazing bonus of blessings here on earth! Not only that, but they are shown what our church has to offer them. We have all of these great ministries designed to meet their needs...and they can even come and participate/observe even if they don't mentally agree with all of our ideas the first time they are presented with them! To be honest, the self centeredness so rampant in modern Christianity shouldn't surprise us. It is simply the natural product/result of our system. Under the false assumtion that behavior and action naturally follow belief, we've wound up with people who are simply "believers" and nothing more. To top it all off, when the world doesn't revolve around them, when bad things happen, when they aren't seeing all of the personal blessings they feel like they were promised their faith begins to fall apart. Community even appears optional because faith is presented as being all about the individual [personal Lord and Saviour, personal relationship with Jesus, "For God so loved ________ (put your name in the blank)", etc.]
I've heard/read Dallas Willard several times say something to the effect of: any system of evangelsim that does not naturally produce disciples (or apprentices) of Jesus should be abandoned immediately. He also points out that "disciple" may have become so "churchy" a word that it's meaning is lost on us. He says that "apprentice" is also an equally valid translation of the same greek word and might convey it's meaning a little better. Doug Padgitt says that maybe "spiritual formation" (another term that is being used in the place of "discipleship") works like language aquisition theory. According to this theory, the best way to learn a language is not to sit in a classroom and learn grammar. Instead, the theory asserts, the best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in a culture where the language is primarily spoken. Is it possible that we have got the cart before the horse? Have we tried to educate people into being Christians (another word that has possibly become so "churchy" that its meaning is obscured), and wound up with only "believers"? What if we focused on incorporating people into our faith communities and immersed them in the practices of a disciple of Jesus? What if they came to belief BY belonging to a community and participation in the mission of the Kingdom of God? Would it produce something different that what we are currently getting (in general)? I can see discipleship playing out that way in scripture, but admittedly I'm trying to see it there, so in some ways this is just a theory. Would it work? To be honest, I'm not sure. We've got to try something though, because what we are currently doing isn't cutting it.