Eighteen months into our mission work, it has become clear that developing a model, honing a musical style, cultivating community, and preaching with relevance are not the most difficult things for us.
The Hardest Thing
Specifically, making disciples who are able to make disciples.
I was never really discipled. For whatever reason, formal discipleship was not part of the church cultures in which I grew up. And so, compared to my weakness in making disciple-making disciples, I can do models, music, community, and sermonizing in my sleep.
Thankfully, we’ve recognized this weakness in my competency early on, and we’ve sought help. Daniel Wells (our church planting apprentice) and I have picked up a disciple-making toolkit that is adaptable to our context, and that is replicable. (We are utilizing tools from a South Carolina-based ministry called 3DM; see weare3dm.com.)
After some intense training, I approached 4 men in humility and asked them if I, despite my inexperience and lack of expertise, could make an honest go at discipling them. I told them that I fully expected them to be equipped and released to each disciple 4 other men after 6-9 months passed. I invited them to bring their wives along for the ride, who could then disciple other women.
These men were, and continue to be, incredibly gracious and encouraging. They’re allowing me to try, to fail, to improvise, to learn. In my weakness, they have come alongside me, not so much as a bunch of Timothies, but more like a band of Barnabases.
In the mean time, I’ve gathered a second group of 4 more men, along with their wives. Daniel has put the same invitation and challenge in front of a group of college students. To our delight, the tools and the structure have not become the “main thing”. Rather, by God’s goodness, the Biblical, gospel-drenched dynamics of the Christian life are being passed along in language that is legible and pass-on-able.
Mind-blowing though it be—it is very possible that in a year’s time, every person in Hill City Church can have the opportunity to be discipled in the gospel way of Jesus, in the context of a church planted by a man who had never really been discipled.
This is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
What’s the takeaway here? There are some things that are in your sweet spot, and you should do those things. There are other things that you’re just not wired for, and you should find and release others to do those things. But you have to make disciples. If you haven’t before, just admit it. Be humble. But put the bar up high for both yourself and those you’re discipling. Gain competency as fast as possible. Get training.
And just do it. Without bravado. But with great boldness. It’s the work of Jesus. Perhaps the main work he’s called you to.
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