In HOPE 8.25 

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David Timms  


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Ministry Resource

Real Life Ministries, a dynamic church in Post Falls, Idaho has dedicated itself to building a "follower" culture rather than an "admirer" culture. Jim Putman, their senior pastor, has written some of their story and much of their philosophy and method in a provocative book, Church is a Team Sport (Baker, 2008; 249 pages). The church has exploded in terms of both size and ministry to the community as they have seriously grappled with following Christ. You'll find this book challenging and helpful.

A Special Opportunity

The Londen Institute for Evangelism will present a dynamic residency on Church leadership at Christ's Church of the Valley, Peoria, Arizona on October 16-18. CCV is a congregation of 12,000 weekly attenders. Don Wilson, their senior pastor, will be one of four high-profile featured speakers in this event. The event is open to people to attend (as they might a conference) or also to earn credit towards a University degree. For information, contact Jana Sanders at [email protected] .

Hope International University
Fullerton  CA  92831


"The admirer never makes any true sacrifices. He always plays it safe. Though in word he is inexhaustible about how highly he prizes Christ, he renounces nothing, will not reconstruct his life, and will not let his life express what it is he supposedly admires. Not so for the follower. No, no. The follower aspires with all his strength to be what he admires." - Soren Kierkegaard, Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard.

Admirers & Followers

The Dark Knight opened here in the United States on July 18 -- less than two weeks ago -- and has been setting box-office records; largest opening weekend, fastest movie to gross $300 million, etc. Over 21 million people sat in theatres to watch it in the first three days after its release. I know a number of folk who have already seen it multiple times.

Admiration describes the usual response. The Batman figure (played by Christian Bale) is a worthy hero. Some viewers speculate that the Joker performance by now-deceased Heath Ledger will be admired all the way to the Oscars. The script and the special effects definitely deliver.

I watched The Dark Knight with my older sons. On the drive home we discussed some of the ethical issues and the "Christ-theme" at the end of the movie (no more hints!). Then we got back to "reality." When it comes to the Batman movies, I turn out to be an admirer but not a follower.

Do we see Jesus the same way?

Might Jesus be for some of us an ancient heroic figure whom we merely admire? Might we admire Him sufficiently to return to the "theatre" each week for the next installment of the script, without really becoming followers? Might we speak highly of Him without renouncing anything? Do we marvel at Him in a brief discussion in the car on the way home and then get back to "reality"?

In the first century, Jesus had plenty of admirers -- people intrigued by Him, who called Him "Rabbi, Teacher" -- but few followers. In the twenty-first century, has that changed much?

Admirers talk the talk; followers walk the walk.
Admirers marvel at His teaching; followers apply it.
Admirers get back to "reality"; followers make Him their reality.

Soren Kierkegaard, writing in the 19th century, challenges us to no longer play it safe while speaking inexhaustibly about Christ, but to pursue Christ with all our strength and in every way. May we discover the glorious transforming power of such serious pursuit.

In HOPE --



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You can find back issues of "In HOPE" (2005-2008) at

David Timms serves in the Graduate Ministry Department at Hope International University in Fullerton, California. "In HOPE", however, is not an official publication of the University and the views expressed are not necessarily those of the Administrators or Board. "In HOPE" has been a regular e-publication since January, 2001.