Monday, October 31, 2011

Simple, but intentional, shaping

At the Missional Learning Commons on Friday night, first we heard a couple of people reflect on their personal discipleship experiences. They were both quite different. Then Mike Breen from 3DM shared a bit of random reflection on discipleship himself.

Mike talked about the importance of culture in shaping us. Whether it is the people, the region, or whatever... belief is often more "caught" than "taught." So we were supposed to discuss around our table the formative influences in our lives - the who, what, and where that helped shape our faith.

Mike then shared from Jeremiah 18 (1-6), and the "Potters wheel." It was very interesting but I didn't write anything down. Anyway, then we were supposed to share at our tables one resolution we would make to "shape" someone else (meaning to "disciple" someone).

I didn't share this at the table, but thought about it later... I remember when we got our cat... It was pretty scared of everything, so I consciously set about to try to pick it up every now and then, but to put it down before it wanted down. I wanted to create an atmosphere where it knew I wasn't going to hold it against its will; and, in fact, where it wanted to be held LONGER than I was holding it. Interestingly enough, I think it worked. The cat now likes for me to hold it, and usually climbs up in the chair with me at night (though it's still pretty scared of everyone else).

I tried to do something similar with our granddaughter. I wanted a "signature" so-to-speak, so from a very early age she would know how to distinguish her grandpa from everyone else. So as soon as she was able to see and recognize things, every time I would see her I would put my hands together, wiggle my fingers, and come up to her and sort of tickle her (not that I really tickled her, but more just the wiggly fingers thing). So then every time she saw this person wiggling their fingers and coming up to her, pretty soon she would start to catch on that it was the same person every time. Now, all I have to do is wiggle my fingers from a distance and I get a great big grin - because even though she may not know I am "grandpa" yet, she at least knows who I AM. It was simple, but intentional.

I think that's a lot of what discipleship is. It's not rocket science, but it takes intentionality. So, one thing I want to resolve to do is to disciple my granddaughter by singing to her simple "Bible" songs - once she's able to do that. I would also like to read Bible stories to her. It's not rocket science, but it's not going to happen if I'm not intentional about it.

After we discussed this some more Mike shared a couple more things. He said, "The thing that Jesus is looking for is - who's following you." Are you discipling anyone? It doesn't have to be hard; it doesn't have to be something that's really deep or dramatic either. But are you intentionally helping anyone grow in their faith?

Then he said, "Do you know who your disciples are, AND do they know that you're discipling them?" Hmm... that adds another little twist. Do they know they are being discipled?

Well, anyway, I think we often don't do anything, because we think it's going to be too difficult or require too much from us. Actually, it can be quite simple... but we have to be intentional about it. I think.