Investing in Others (What is "discipleship")
I continually find myself thankful for those who have invested in me. Men and women who have mentored or coached me (maybe without realizing it), by befriending me and engaging in thought-provoking conversation - speaking into my life, as well as listening as if I may have something to say. Some continue to invest in me, as I continue to grow and develop as a person... others may have been involved in my life for a short season. But for each and every one of them, I am thankful.
One such friend is John McCallum (in the pic above with his awesome wife, Dayna). John is the pastor of First Baptist Church, Hot Springs, AR. I met John (I think for the first time) at a prayer luncheon for pastors when we happened to be seated at the same table. During the conversation, he mentioned to us other pastors at the table that FBC had a full fitness center/gym, and would like to offer a free Family Membership to any Senior Pastor of the churches in town. A few weeks later, I took him (and FBC Fitness) up on the offer. Over the next several years, we would find ourselves occasionally working out together, praying together, and sharing a meal together, And every time, he engaged me in conversation that formed me into a better person, husband, daddy, son, fitness trainer, and pastor. The thing is, it never came across like John's intention was to help me be better, only that he wanted to be my friend. Whether he knew it or not, he was investing in me. John was one of the very few people who knew we were going to move from Hot Springs to Natchitoches, LA, to plant Awaken Church, about 5 months before we went public with the news. His prayer, encouragement, and words of wisdom (as we pumped iron) were crucial for me during that season of transition and anticipation. One year after moving from Hot Springs, John continues to invest in me by committing to pray regularly as a prayer partner for myself and the new church plant.
I've come to believe that this is what this thing we call "discipleship" in the church is supposed to look like. Following Jesus includes helping someone else take their next step, as I take mine. This is what people development is all about.
Personal Development isn't a program but a PROCESS.
We're all in process. We are all developing (hopefully) as human beings. People development can't just be reduced to a program. To be honest, we use the word "discipleship" in the church world, we are most often referring to a program or class designed to make us more like "a Christian," when real spiritual growth and health are in the process of becoming more like Christ. And that happens we realize we haven't arrived, but as we continue on the journey, we invest in others as they develop along the way.
Personal Development evolves in EVERY AREA of life.
When Jesus becomes the subject of our personal development, this impacts every area of life. That's because you've taken personal development to the deepest level - spiritual - which leads to growth in every area of life because every area of life is connected and impacted by who we are spiritually. Spirituality, religion, home/family relationships, community/work/school connections... every area of life is growing and becoming healthier as we develop into our true selves.
When we Develop TOGETHER, we BE the Church.
Discipleship as we know it means going to church. Personal Development (what discipleship is supposed to be) means being the church. This doesn't happen in a vacuum or in a dark closet. Yes, there are times when reclusive introspection cause growth as a person, but we only develop as a person when that experience is invested in others. As Awaken Church continues to move towards launching, this is already in the DNA of the Launch Team members. We're praying for opportunities to invest in others, as we develop together and be the Church - Jesus with skin on - in our community.
Who has invested in you? Who are you investing in?