Is a Christian someone who follows Jesus or is it someone who is going to go to heaven when they die? That question might be more important than you know. The answer to that question might have something to do with how you talk about faith.
Maybe this is the trouble with alter calls and the conversion based gospel. Perhaps the implied definition in these things is that Christians are just "forgiven" or "saved" or are going to heaven when they die. That is what a Christian is and therefore that is what they do. How they live, and who they are becoming is incidental. We just have to get "sin" out of our lives so we look good for Jesus when he comes. What we don't do, what we refrain from is only important insofar as it proves to us that we are indeed going to heaven. What we actually do can't be seen as to important otherwise we'll have a "works" based salvation.
But What if going to heaven is the incidental part? What if how we live is really what makes us Christians. Perhaps, indeed, the things we do, our works, have nothing to do with going to heaven but being a Christian doesn't have anything to do with going to heaven either.
What if we really saw Christianity as discipleship? Would life after death still be the goal or would life here and now, becoming more and more like Jesus, be the ultimate goal? Would it be more important to go to heaven or to bring heaven here? Would it be more important to stay away from sin or to respond to injustice? Is Christianity about discipleship or heaven-bound-ness?
Perhaps if we saw Christianity as being about discipleship it would change the whole way we talk about heaven and the mission of the church.