Discipleship is Not a Factory. It’s a Field.

Samuel Slater was born into an English farming household. He obtained a primary training, however at age ten started working at a cotton mill. He was later apprenticed to the proprietor of the mill and gained his larger training in how the equipment and the system labored.

In his 20’s, he realized that Americans had been curious about growing related machines. But there have been some “hard feelings” about the entire revolution, and so Slater memorized as a lot as he may and left to cross the ocean to New York with a secret plan in thoughts. He constructed a manufacturing facility from reminiscence so as to produce spindles of yarn. Slater, as we speak, is called the “Father of the American Industrial Revolution” as a result of issues clearly took off from there.

Factories, and industrialization, unfold in fast style. Before then, the entire thought of “going to work” was not even in scope as a result of in an agricultural society there was no separation between dwelling and work. Everything modified. Everything was influenced from the meals we devour to the hours we eat and even our general perspective on life. The lenses by means of which we view the world modified.

The lens by means of which we view discipleship has modified.

We have a tendency to consider non secular development by means of the industrialization lens. There are methods, processes, and plans. There are steps, progressions, and logical trajectories. None of these items are dangerous. Or fallacious. Or pointless. And but the attitude wherein we’d strategy discipleship may be all fallacious. That’s as a result of disciples are grown; they aren’t manufactured:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. Every branch in me that does not produce fruit he removes, and he prunes every branch that produces fruit so that it will produce more fruit. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, neither can you unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. The one who remains in me and I in him produces much fruit, because you can do nothing without me. If anyone does not remain in me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you want and it will be done for you. My Father is glorified by this: that you produce much fruit and prove to be my disciples” (John 15:1-8).

This, in fact, is without doubt one of the finest identified descriptions of life in Christ in the entire Bible. Jesus, in describing what it means to dwell and develop in Him, used an agricultural metaphor. You may argue, in fact, that Jesus used this metaphor as a result of He was initially talking in an agrarian society. That in utilizing this, He merely picked a well-known picture that His hearers would determine with. I imagine that’s true.

But I additionally imagine it’s true that this metaphor offers a wanted perspective shift for us. When we make disciples, we aren’t placing collectively automobiles or assembling furnishings. Of course, there’s a course of, nevertheless it’s a course of that includes human beings. Human beings doing the discipling, and human beings being discipled. For that purpose, we should be cautious that we don’t put an excessive amount of religion in a course of and too little religion within the God who sits over the method. That’s industrialization – that if we merely have the fitting uncooked components, then comply with the fitting steps, then out comes a mature follower of Jesus. Like an meeting line.

There are twists and turns. There are feelings and emotions. There are circumstances of nice pleasure and horrible despair. And all these items come collectively, below the affect of the Holy Spirit, to maneuver us towards Christlikeness.

Be cautious then, pals. Be organized; be logical; be intentional – however don’t be overly inflexible. For that rigidity can point out that we have now changed religion with process; that we have now supplanted the work of the Holy Spirit with the ingenuity of man; that we’re trusting in our personal concepts fairly than in God’s formative work.

Instead, stroll with the children in your ministry. Talk with them. Listen to them. And assist them take only one extra step at a time. This is how disciples are grown, not manufactured.

Michael Kelley lives in Nashville, Tenn., together with his spouse, Jana, and three youngsters: Joshua, Andi, and Christian. He serves because the Sr. Vice President of Church Ministries for Lifeway Christian Resources. He is the writer of Growing Down: Unlearning the Patterns of Adulthood that Keep Us from JesusWednesdays Were Pretty Normal: A Boy, Cancer, and GodTransformational Discipleship; and Boring: Finding an Extraordinary God in an Ordinary Life.

This submit initially appeared on michaelkelley.co.

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