The PROCESS – What does it L K like?
The church in America has in the past number of years really been striving to change it’s focus from a more program driven approach of growing disciples to encouraging believers forward in their faith life by reaching back to instilling a relational/discipleship movement in their churches. I hope to over a number of these blog conversations to wrestle together with you on different aspects of this movement (and yes I do see it more as a movement… one that I pray doesn’t just become the latest thing we tried for a while though).
I have had the privilege to be inserted into a man’s life at the church we are at to walk alongside him in a mentoring partnership. As a product of this process he then will be encouraged to take on the banner of discipling someone else. Within this I have sensed the tug yet of the program vs. organic nature of this process. Now don’t get me wrong intentionality (the more program side of this ) and the organic (which of course is more a following of what God is doing vs. what we try to create) are part of the process. So let me hone in on just one part of that process that can highlight this battle (because we are wrestling right?).
In this relationship that I am gaining with this man… I have appreciated the intentional part of this… which is that the church when someone is getting baptized requires another person from the church to take them through a series of studies related to the basics of the faith.
However, in that approach at the church we are at presently, the walking alongside this person follows a series of studies that help the person being mentored into a flow of some of the basics of a Christ followers faith. The books themselves are well done, but the problem I have with it is that the process almost seems to suggest a time frame. That is once through the curriculum the idea is that this person will be ready to disciple someone else. Which, in and of itself, is a wonderful thing that we actually need to be encouraging and saying in a relationship like this. But maybe you can already see the program side coming into play here.
In this process (and it is a process), I have also needed to be ready to see this person well and maybe take some turns in the road that we didn’t initially see coming.
This is exactly where this friend of mine came across recently. He seemed to be struggling with something in his life and this had seemingly paused the process… but in reality is exactly what the process forward needed. I have been asked a few times about where our process was at (which translated kind of felt like… which of the 4 books in the curriculum are you on?). Now the follow up with mentors actually is important in the process (and we can take a look at that closer at another time). With my new found friend we needed to set the books aside and are working through some struggles that needed to be addressed in his life. From the outside it looks like a falling back instead of a moving forward.