Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Mentoring & Discipleship. Pt 1

I have been reading 2 interesting books over the past 2 weeks. The first is Multiplication by Nick Klinkenberg and the second is Think Orange by Rick Joiner.
These books have stirred my thoughts once again on the topic of discipleship / mentoring / coaching... whatever term you prefer to use.

I love the Chinese Proverb that states:
"If you're planting for a year, plant grain. If you're planting for a decade, plant trees. If you're planting for a century, plant people."

I think it is safe to say we all agree with the basic concept and need for discipleship, however, it has been a complaint for long time that discipleship is a lost art.
In the West, certainly when we think of discipleship we think of a class room or bible college situation.
But how successful has this means of discipleship been?

I will leave you with the following 3 short quotes on the subject. Please ponder it and leave your thoughts via a comment.

"Over half of all Nobel Prize winners were once apprenticed to other Nobel winners."
Ron Lee Jones.

"Truth is an important part of discipleship, but our faith simply doesn't grow because we know more, it grows when we serve more."
Reggie Joiner

"If what they have heard doesn't move from their heads to their hands, it will probably never make it to their hearts."
Reggie Joiner

Thanks for leaving your comments.
I will sit on these thoughts over the next few posts... I look forward to going on a journey with you as you comment and add to my thoughts.


James said...

Here's my ponderings :)

"Over half of all Nobel Prize winners were once apprenticed to other Nobel winners."
- Does this prove it's all about who you know not what you know?

"Truth is an important part of discipleship, but our faith simply doesn't grow because we know more, it grows when we serve more."

- I'd say faith grows when we seek God's face. Too often people think that doing more ministry activities will bring them closer to God. Actually this can cause people to go further from Him because they don't make time to actually spend time with God. That's not to say we shouldn't serve, service was modelled to us by Christ and is part of a Christian life. I'm just arguing that this kind of thinking can lead to something similar to salvation by works, just under another name. I agree with the idea that knowing something in your head isn't enough. When you are living it out that is when it becomes more real to you. It really comes down to doing what God has called you to do, not what man calls you to do. These don't always line up...

Clive Smit said...

Some great thoughts there James...

It's true that we always have to beware of swinging from one extreme to another.

I'm not suggesting it should be one or another... just that these are key parts that most people have left out. As you know from your own experience... 20% of the people do 80% of the work.

We can loose focus and the work of God can destroy the work of God in us... but that is a message to the 20%.

What do you think?

James said...

I agree that my comments might be a message to the 20% who do a lot, but I think there is a little more too it.

For example (and perhaps we don't see eye to eye on this one) if I was motivate you to give money because you will receive a blessing. Your motivation would be wrong, you wouldn't be giving to bless others, you'd be giving to bless yourself.

If you are motivated to serve because you believe that you will gain more faith, it gets a little bit grey. Having more faith is a great thing, I wish I had a lot more than I do, but there seems to me to be a little bit of pride, and seeking after self in that statement.

And I'd also question whether the basis for that motivation is true. In this case don't believe that giving mandates God's blessing on us, or that by serving God he guarantee's increased faith. Sometimes God does reward us for what we do, but I think it's a mistake to think he always will. Job would be the obvious example:)

As a Christian (and I'm not saying I'm anything like perfect!) I want to do things for the right reasons. Perhaps out of devotion to God, motivated by my love for people, or just in recognition of a need. Not out of hope for financial gain, recognition amongst the church leadership, peer esteem, etc.

As I heard you quote I can't quite remember how it goes but, love is when it costs us, lust is when is costs somebody else.

As Christians we are called to love others and I believe this means it is going to cost us, not like a spiritual transaction "Ok God, I'll trade you 2 hours of service for 1 faith point" but a cost just like paying for a dentist visit.

Now I'm not quite sure how to reconcile this line of thinking with a need for personal spiritual, emotional, and psychological growth which I think we are all called to do.

What I'm really trying to say is that we should be careful to examine our own motivations, and especially careful when motivating others.

Asking questions like:
1. Is this motivation Godly? Or self serving? - eg. If someone responds to this by signing up for the music team because they think that will give them more faith? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
2. Is this motivation valid? - eg. Does God increase faith when we serve? Yes? No? Sometimes?

I think Reggie's quote is actually quite good. I agree that just knowing something isn't the same as putting it into practise.

I guess I'm just thinking that we sometimes say things without considering how people will interpret them.
Sometimes we can actually encourage people to do things for the wrong/invalid reasons. That's something we want to avoid.

I'll finish with a question...
If we do the right thing for the wrong reason is it still the right thing?

And naturally I don't really know the answer :)

Clive Smit said...

Hey James...

I love your thoughts on motives. I am constantly challenged by 'what are my motives'.
For eg. Do I share my faith so people won't go to hell (humanistic focus) or so that God might be glorified?
Motives are hard to measure cause we can be doing the very same actions but out of different motivations.

Let me say why I think serving will grow your faith:

1) Its giving away (your time, energies, etc) when you could just be sitting back receiving.

2) You have to deal with people
We all know that having to deal with people... well if we do it right anyway, causes us to have to rely on Christ and allow Him to challenge, stretch and grow us.

3) You have to deal with disappointment
Weather that be from people not thanking you, people on the team letting you down, the 80% of people not helping out, etc.

4) You have to deal with pressure
Murphy's law: things go wrong at the worst possible times... how do you handle it?
Work pressure, home pressure, social pressure... do i still serve?

5) ... I can't remember point 5 now...

Serving grows our faith cause it rubs us up... it's certainly not a sprinkle fairy dust and make God's blessing appear...
but then you would resonate with that having served so many years.

So yea, maybe we should talk more about how serving will grow us.

I'm not really sure people are signing up to serve for the touch of fairy dust though... although I'm more often wrong than right!

Jeremy Sargent said...

Truth is an important part of discipleship, but our faith simply doesn't grow because we know more, it grows when we serve more."

Good discussion lads...
My quick comment is Serving keeps us alive,but not nessecary growing our faith. True growth comes from being connected to Jesus. Growth always haoppens on the inside and is just visable on the outside .