Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Making Disciples | L3/D3

One of the biggest problems with inherited-mode church is that we employ the vicar to do for us – vicariously – the work of mission and evangelism. In other words, we take our responsibility to make disciples seriously, by delegating it to the professional. The emerging missional church – both within and out-with institutional structures – has the opportunity to address this. But let’s not pretend it is an easy gravitational pull to break out of.

As his disciples emerge from D2, Jesus shifts gear from L2 to L3. He still takes responsibility for defining the parameters of the vision, and the strategy; but delegates responsibility for implementing them:
“We’re going to move on from Galilee and start making our way towards Jerusalem. I want you to go ahead of me; between you, to cover all the settlements on our route. Find Bed & Breakfast with whoever welcomes you in; and heal the sick, drive out demons, raise the dead, and explain your actions as evidence of God’s kingdom breaking-into the lives of ordinary men, women and children. How you decide who goes where, and who you connect with there, is up to you. Oh, and don’t get hung up on not finding a welcome; move on until you do.”
Jesus takes a step back, gives them space to have a go, to take risks, to experience knock-backs, to see signs of encouragement, to learn from things not turning out as they expected, to grow. But he’s not far behind, available to help them process their experience. This is the season of, “Okay, we’re getting used to telling demons to go and seeing them do so; so, how come this one won’t?” “Try building-in a discipline of prayer and fasting. God uses these things to work away at the resistance to him in you, and as resistance decreases, so his power is able to flow through you more fully.”

Followers at D3 need leaders operating at L3: and that requires of us the humility to let others do what we do – to let them do things perhaps not the way we would have done it ourselves; and even, at least initially, not as well as we would have done it…It requires of us that we are generous enough to endorse another, in these circumstances; and (because we’re not Jesus) to be big enough to apologise and ask for forgiveness of the other when we fail to do so. And it may require that we have to go to a community and apologise where those we are responsible for sending do something spectacularly wrong (it happens; I’ve known it from the D side and the L side) and have caused unintentional hurt. And to help them learn from their mistake, and give them another go…

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