From Mike Breen's book "Creating a Discipling Culture"
Would you trust a doctor to perform open heart surgery on you who has had only classroom experience and no residency? Yet that is how we have structured our discipleship processes!
Most church leaders we know, after hearing this, usually say the following: “Well, we can’t be responsible for feeding them. They need to learn to be self-feeders. They have to be responsible for being disciples. I can’t will it for them.” There’s a little truth in that, but we think it fails to acknowledge the complexity of the problem. Getting people to a place where they can nourish themselves with the Bible, through prayer, community and other spiritual disciplines doesn’t happen just because we tell people that’s how they can nourish themselves spiritually. That’s like telling third graders that in order to function in school they need to learn to write in cursive but offer no in-depth way of teaching them to do this. And to be clear, kids don’t learn to write in cursive because the teacher gives a 30-minute lecture on how to do it.
Some friends of mine have framed it this way.
Our culture has put emphasis on discipleship in this way: Information...Experience...Relationship.
And this assumption puts Bible Studies and small groups at the center of our discipleship mechanism...and we have fat bodies and fit minds.
But I think about sermons and Bible Studies that have changed me/transformed me/shifted my identity/renewed my mind. And I can think of a couple that have produced change.
But experiences? Going to Kenya...losing loved ones...getting married...having a kiddo...going through pain...the list goes on...experiences change me more than information ever could.
And relationships? my family...my mentors...my friends...my wife...my coworkers...my professors...my kiddo...I can identify more relationships that have catalyzed who I am and where my life is going than I can identify experiences and information.
So the best way to make disciples?
Do life together and love well.
In those relationships, find where God is at work and join Him there.
And study/reflect on the Scriptures (we don't need fit bodies and fat minds either!)
They all matter...but maybe not in the order we've been taught.
What do you think?