“These things are hers, they’re all she has, they’re not for girls or boys; If you get too close you might get bit – after all they are her toys.” Seven eight-year-old girls huddled in a circle sorting out this clue. “Madeline, where do you keep your toys?” “But Madeline’s not going to bite us if we get too close.” “Who’s going to bite us?” “Maybe Ariel will. But why?” “Maybe if we took her toys!” The gaggle of girls suddenly flew off to our living room and the little box where we kept our mini-Schnauzer’s toys. After a little digging, they pulled up a little slip of paper that had been hidden beneath some tennis balls and a little squeaky beaver.
“Big and red, it just sits, but turn a key you’ll hear a sound; Could be in the front or back – guess you’ll have to look around.” “Turn a key and you’ll hear a sound,” one of the girls shouted, “It has to be a car.” And off they ran to the garage.
Our family has always been big on scavenger hunts. Whether it was a birthday hunt that eventually ended up at the table for cake and ice cream, or a search for clues that when pieced together revealed a trip to Disneyland, Madeline always knew that when we surprised her with an initial clue, the pay-off would be worth the process. We never had to push her to find the next clue or encourage her to keep going. She just ran until she reached the end.
This past Sunday, we talked about discipleship. We defined what a disciple looked like, which, not coincidentally, coincided exactly with our mission. What is SCC’s mission? Growing where planted toward intimate faith, compassionate servanthood, authentic community, and relational outreach. What is a disciple? One who has intimate faith, serves compassionately, is involved in authentic community, and relationally reaches out to the world around them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We also talked about how we are not taking a linear, stair-step approach to creating disciples, i.e., Step One – develop intimate faith, Step Two – serve compassionately, etc. Instead, we are taking a heart approach – one based on how God has created us and where our passions lay.
This approach is similar to a spiritual scavenger hunt designed by God specifically for you – each step cluing you in to your natural next step. Your entry into the discipleship process may be in authentic community by joining a community group. There your faith will grow more intimate. Through the encouragement and accountability from your community group, you start relationally reaching out by intentionally loving the people that God has placed in your sphere of influence. Finally, as you’re passing the ministry wall one Sunday, you feel the Holy Spirit say, “Stop just walking by and take a look.” There you see a need in the tech ministries, and you start serving your church family.
Will this mean that you are now a disciple? You bet! Does it mean that you are a fully mature disciple? Tell you what, if you can find one of those in our congregation, let me know. They’re as hard to locate as a Raider fan without a felony.
Discipleship is a life-long process. The mission of SCC is to provide you opportunities to grow in that process. What this means, though, is that you must have the desire to grow. This is the one potential flaw in this discipleship plan. In a linear approach, you step on the assembly line and it will automatically shuttle you through the process. Whether you are really growing or not, you will get through Step 4, because you will have finished all the books or attended all the classes or checked all the boxes.
The heart approach takes, well, heart. There needs to be the desire to grow. It is self-motivated. You’ll get encouragement from the pastors and elders and the rest of your church family. But, like Madeline determining that the scavenger pay-off is completely worth the effort, you’ll need to decide that becoming an ever-deepening disciple of Christ is worth your pursuit. It’sgoing to be up to you to resolve that you’re going to take the opportunities to build intimate faith, compassionate servanthood, authentic community, and relational outreach. We’ll help provide the how-to, you need to provide the want-to.
Along the way, please use us as your resources. You’ve got Steve Musser and myself. Also, you heard from the elders on Sunday where their hearts lay. If you want to build your intimate faith, contact Dennis Robbins or Tom Martin. If you want to find opportunities to develop your compassionate servanthood, get ahold of Tom Martin or Mick Fields. If you’re ready to get connected into an authentic community, give a shout to Jim Sprecker or Ted Matthews. And if youwant some direction in relationally reaching out (i.e., loving people), then you can hit any one of us up.
As we wrap up this series, there is one thing that we’ve got to revisit – prayer. If we, as a church family, are daily praying for our own discipleship process and the ministries of this church, then God is going to do incredible things. If we fail to pray, then next January we’ll be looking back at this year and asking, “Wow, it started with such a bang. What happened?” And, as you pray, remember to pray boldly (God wants to hear your prayers), pray bigly (Big Hairy Audacious Prayers that only God can accomplish), and pray broadly (pray for yourself, your family, your sphere of influence, and your church).
Lord, this is your year. We anxiously anticipate what you have planned for us.