Greetings my fellow peeps on the interwebs.
I apologize for the lack of consistent updates this week to date. I try to post several times a week, and even daily when possible, which is why I aim for small posts, very often, rather than long posts sporadically. However, I’ve been busier than normal, and as a result of working on my time management skills, blogging fell to the wayside a bit. This has not stopped me from reading lots of blogs and eBooks lately, as you may have noticed by my blog content and maybe even my blog’s sidebar, on disciple-making and the missional movement.
I’m always conscientious when I write posts about disciple-making, because every time in recent months that I’ve said or implied that I only recently started learning I wasn’t quite making disciples in a systematic way or a quantifiable way of any kind–or I’ve written blogs like “I didn’t learn this in Bible school”, it gets read into as a slam against my former Bible college. I’m not intentionally trying to attack or speak ill of anybody. I’m grateful for what I learned at that time of my life, in my formative years of early adulthood. But that’s just the point–I learned a lot of stuff. Learning a lot of information isn’t necessarily the same thing as learning HOW to do something. The things that are the most important to me now, are things I learned out of some kind of crisis or epiphany regarding lacking it in my life, and from having people that I had personal access to. Books, classes, podcasts and so on are good, but only to a point. More on that later.
I remember in my third year of Bible school, we had a guest speaker in our ‘advanced leadership’ class, who has been a missionary in Italy for decades. He told us that if you took a test two weeks after graduating a school, you’d fail it because most of what you learn, even in seminary, doesn’t really ‘stick’ in the part of your brain where you’re storing such information while studying for tests and exams and writing reports. It’s short term instead of long-term. But when I write a comment in passing saying, ‘yep, that’s true’, people’s feelings have gotten hurt. I’m not aiming for that. I’m just blogging and sharing my journey while I’m on it, in the direction I’m going in. For now, it won’t be obvious that the car has changed direction. But years from now, as we look back together on the path and the fruit produced, it will be more obvious that the incremental changes were profound.
This journey so far has had epiphanies along the way, such as “I’m wasting my time doing certain things others value as being good”, and not focusing enough on other things that are important but that others might not even consider as being worth the time. As I’ll mention in an upcoming post, a big part of that frustration and change was also from comparing myself to others on the mission field or who I had graduated with and looked up to. I finally came to a realization that I’m unique and don’t need to be like anybody else, even when and where pressure is and has been on me to do so.
But I’m getting a little sidetracked.
Experience or Textbook Knowledge?
If you needed brain surgery, who would you trust to perform it–a brand-new surgeon who just graduated medical school and passed a lot of tests? Or someone who’s actually had some experience using surgical tools and performing on a person?
I’ve been very knowledgeable about a lot of “correct” ways of doing things, but little experience implementing it. But I don’t think God looks at the last few years of my life as a waste of time, but are a part of my fundamental journey. If I didn’t get frustrated and fed up, I never would have reached where I’m at now to be able to do and reproduce what I’m now beginning to.That’s what I thought.
Since I wasn’t “discipled” for the longest time by anybody in my life, the manner in which I make and have made disciples, out of necessity has been flawed as well. I’ve passed on the same information I was given, but not necessarily reproduced the same life of Christ into anybody who could in turn do the same.
Because it doesn’t get imparted just through formal “discipleship training schools”, graduating with diplomas saying you’ve passed a program–which are not bad and I’m not knocking. But, it also comes from living life together. It incubates in and through relationship way more than it does through one-way information flow from teacher to student. There’s informal and formal training. Jesus didn’t just teach the Sermon on the Mount (which He did), but also He ate with his disciples, and traveled with them and spent three years together.
So, what on earth is different now and why would what I’m doing now be different than what I was doing before? I think this article I came across yesterday by Ben Sternke added some words to my thoughts, so I encourage you to give it a read when you have a chance (it’s a quick read). .
I’m done my coffee for the morning, and will be continuing to reflect on these matters in blog posts in the weeks and months to come, so stay tuned, and don’t forget to subscribe if you want to receive them in your inbox through weekly digests.
Questions To Ponder
Christian, do you hang out with anybody “beneath” you spiritually? Do people have access to you?
Do you only teach people, or do you also allow them to live life on life together with you? If not, why not?