Saturday, November 2, 2013

(Not So) Random Thoughts

Conversations with some folks lately have had me thinking about the nature of discipling.  That's the process of bringing younger Christians to a point of maturity.  Not an easy process, and certainly there are more than one ways to do this successfully; but it often fails or breaks down. Here are a few thoughts:

Whose job is it?  It is certainly the job of more mature Christians to disciple the less mature and it should be the desire of those mature men and women to do what they can to get the process started. They must first be available and accessible. After that the rules are much less clear. Should they chase down the less mature and drag them into some kind of program? Maybe in some cases that works; but I suspect it works better in a different fashion.

I suggest that by looking at the way many people achieve success in some other ways. I first started think about the martial arts, where a prospective student would search out a suitable teacher and earn the right to be his student. For the most part, that's long gone, but even with the commercialized martial arts programs out there, the truly successful martial artists are the ones who seek out the best and train harder than the rest.

In our world of professional sports it's much the same way.  Award winning coaches often get some great talent brought to them; but those great talents have been recognized largely because they've worked longer and harder than the others.

In education the truly successful are again the ones who seek out the best, and work harder and longer than the rest.  Yes, there are some who seem to just "have it" and coast, getting by with minimal effort; but do are they really successful?  Do they truly get an education that way?  (Just asking on that one.)

So, what's my point?  It's two-fold.  Mature Christians, make yourself available.  Be at your church's functions.  Younger Christians, if you want to be discipled, seek out someone to do that. Not every older man is the right guy for a college student; not every older lady is right for the teen girl. Look around, get to know the older folks--we really don't bite and we want to help be there for you.

I've been on both ends of this.  When I was young, our local postmaster was a man I admired.  I'd hang around the Post Office and he'd tell me stories of hunting and trapping...and relate these things to spiritual life. My grandfather was another mentor (we won't count parents here--that's a specific role outside the scope of this) as were a couple other men I encountered in my chosen profession.  I sought them out, spent time with them on their turf and soaked up everything they had to give me.

I've also been the "old guy" both professionally and spiritually to some younger folks.  Many young folks have sought me out for advice, friendship, camaraderie, or just company.  I've shared coffee, pizza, wings and walks in the woods.  The conversation has been about chainsaws, guns, motorcycles and God. That's where discipling has taken place.

So, what I'm saying, it's not just structured study that builds maturity, it's time invested--on both sides. If you want a structured study, that can be done, but there are enough programmed teaching times now that one more is likely not the answer.  Maybe attending those would be a good place to start.  After that, I'll bet Cliff would love to have you hang out while he split wood, Jeff's putting a roof on, I'm always happy to make coffee and take a break from my chores, Pastor George will always talk get the idea. Nearly all of us are suckers for an excuse for a cup of coffee somewhere.

We're available, call us, stop by and drink coffee with us.  We'd love to get to know you.

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