Walking Alongside

Is being a disciple of Jesus more about knowing the right information or living life in relationship with Jesus? I think we all know the answer to that question! Yet often times our classical approach to faith formation elevates the importance of learning information. What would happen if instead we elevated the role of guidance? This is the third article in a five-part series on increasing effectiveness in developing disciples by making small shifts in our behavior, based on Daniel Im’s book No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts That Will Transform Your Ministry.
The third shift Im highlights in his book is to move from sage to guide. Recent scholarship in the field of adult education has confirmed that adults learn very differently than children. Im points out that 70% of what adults learn comes through doing while 20% is gained through interaction. Just 10% of adult learning can be attributed to classical education methods such as reading and listening. And why should it be any different when it comes to following Jesus?
Im reminds us that what is needed for faith formation is not a sage on the stage, but rather a guide on the side. Nothing is more important to the one learning how to faithfully follow Jesus than someone to walk beside him or her to show the way. And this is something that God is calling each of us to do for others. And not only is God calling us, he’s equipping us, too! In Ephesians 4:11-12, Paul reminds us that God has so gifted the church with various leaders for the purpose of equipping the saints for the work of ministry.
In other words, you don’t have to take a class to learn how to disciple someone… you are already called and equipped to do so. And I believe that as we go, God further equips us for even greater ministry. As we walk alongside someone to guide him or her, we realize our own need for someone to walk alongside us and guide us as well. So, while we are discipling others, we are being discipled, too. This was God’s plan for the church.
And it was God’s plan from the earliest days. In Acts 8, Philip joins the Ethiopian in the chariot who had been reading Isaiah. He asked the man, “Do you understand what you’re reading?” The Ethiopian replied, “How can I unless someone guides me?” Let us never forget how God is calling us to disciple others by joining them in their journey of following Jesus as their guide on the side.
Pastor Bryce Formwalt is the Director of Mission Growth for the LCMC Texas District. Residing in Georgetown, Pastor Bryce is available to coach congregations on mission. Feel free to contact him with any questions or comments: 512-942-7776 or bryce@lcmctexas.org. Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/lcmctexas

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