Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lay Leader Discipleship Interview

                For my 2nd Discipleship Interview I chose to grasp it from a slightly different angle.  I chose to interview my wife, the worship director/leader at our church.   This type of discipleship is different in the sense that it involves music.  However, it is also similar to pastoral discipling in the sense that the purpose is to bring someone a step closer to God.  Worship is a vital aspect in any Christian’s spiritual walk.  Helping others understand that importance is what my wife  has been called to. 

I asked her four questions in this interview.  Here were her responses:

1)               What is your process for making disciples?

                I am currently “feeling through it” at the moment.  Making disciples in the music ministry is a continuous learning process,.  Right now I have five young girls that I have been spending the most time with who are interested in joining the worship team.   The 1st thing I need to do is  find out where they are musically and identify what areas I need to help them work through.   I also find out where they are spiritually.  My main objective is to help them not only understand the concept of worship, and its purpose,  but also to help them discover the joy and the importance of worship in their lives.  So basically, I identify the areas in which they need to grow and simultaneously help them develop a heart of worship.

2)           What are the biggest challenges you face in this process?

                Everyone is at a different level.  That’s a challenge.  There are multiple people at one time to work with.  Being able to give them the most out of our times together is tough.  I don’t want the quality of our time together to suffer.  

                Also, what I’ve found difficult is helping them understand just b/c they enjoy playing music doesn’t mean they are worshiping.  Commitment and consistency can be difficult as well.  They want to grow, but they aren’t putting forth the extra time and effort needed to discover what true worship is.

3)           What are some ways you equip people for Ministry?

                I like to encourage them to have personal times of worship.  Not just to worship on Sunday mornings, but to close the door to their room, play either their instrument or put on a CD and begin to worship their incredible God.  Biblical growth is also important for them as well.  To understand what scripture says about how necessary worship is in every believers life.  In addition, I recommend they read books such as “Worship Warrior” and “Worship as it is in Heaven” by Chuck D. Pierce.

                 Hands-on training is very much needed for worship ministry.  I give them “homework” to do as far as musically.  I want them to keep practicing even at home so they begin to develop and grow in their talents.  Equipping also happens as we mentor them through the process of getting integrated onto the worship team.  As they commit to coming to our weekly practice we challenge them to reach for more. And in time we assign them gradual roles in their responsibility as a worship team member. 

4)           How do you measure your effectiveness?

                You can see and hear musical development. That’s how we can determine their growth that musical aspect.  Spiritual accountability through conversation is how I know where they are in their walk with the Lord.  I recognize the influence that I have with the younger ladies coming up and I’ve found that every time I get a chance to talk with them is another chance I have to talk with them about how their lives are going.  Basically, I’m there to walk along side them.  Encouraging them to go deeper in the understanding of what it means to worship in Spirit and in Truth.  It’s a privilege.

Coaching Diads

“Coaching helps you take stock of where you are now in all aspects of your life, and how that compares to where you would like to be.”
-Elaine MacDonald

                Recently, I participated in an exercise in which I was paired up with one other person and was instructed to talk about something that I was going through in my life at the time.  The other person was “the Coach”.  His responsibility was to help me work through the situation that I was currently dealing with.  He was given a list of questions to use a guide if he wanted to.   After about 10 minutes, we swapped positions.  I was now the coach helping him work through something in his life.

                One of the greatest challenges we discovered was the listening aspect of the exercise.  As a coach you are looking for every clue possible to help the other person in their attempt to move forward through this obstacle.  The listening required complete attentiveness as well as exercising compassion and empathy.  It was a challenge, but a learned lesson.  

                By the end of the exercise we found that we were both shocked at how we came to reach a conclusion as to what step to take next in these circumstances.  It proves just how important and effective taking a coaching role in someone’s life can actually be.

Assimilating Church Growth

             In our last class we had a visit from the Pastor of Assimilation at Glad Tidings Church in Reading, PA. Courtney Goode had served faithfully for a couple years as a secretary in her church knowing that her calling was as a pastor.  Her role now is focused on assimilating people into the church.  I have to admit, her demeanor and attitude towards her position was astounding.  She seemed like the perfect fit for that position.

             Pastor of Assimilation is still a new thing to me.  I’ve only heard of the position a couple of times.  However, after listening to Courtney express her passion, purpose and strategy for integrating and blending people into the church body, I have come to realize the importance of such a position.  

            It was evident that her heart’s desire was not focused on just “getting more people”, but instead about making people feel welcomed, included and valued. I believe this is clearly an example of Christ’s heart for the church.  Partly due to her hard and dedicated work, Glad Tidings faces an exciting and I’m sure welcomed challenge.  They are growing as a church more and more.  Lives have been so radically changed and as a result they are inviting others.  Now it’s time for Glad Tidings to find a way to facilitate such a rapid growth into the body of Christ. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Church Planting Assesment

Last week we experienced what it would be like in a church planting assesment interview.  It was quite extensive.  Difficult questions were asked in order to help the interviewer get a clear picture of the capacity this person would have to lead a church.  Though it was not easy to think on the spot of past experiences that have led a person up to a certain point, I noticed how vital these questions are to have been answered truthfully.  Without a clear understanding of the potential church planters abilities, it would be impossible and unfair to throw them into a situation they would be unable to handle.

                This assessment covered 13 areas in which a church planter would need to have shown a high level of competence and capacity.  Everything from motivation to minister, to relationship building, to personal resilience.  The one interesting pointer we were given was to avoid using the word “we” and to substitute it with “I”.  This was difficult, especially for a class of potential ministers who strive for humility.  The purpose for this was so the interviewer could get a good grasp on the individual achievements and personal situations that the person may have encountered.

                It was very useful information

Learning to Follow Jesus (Class Project)

The Gist
                This semester we were all given five choices for our final class project.  The option I chose was to disciple a new believer using a book as a guide.  The book is called Learning to Follow Jesus by Dr. Daniel McNaughton.  This book was to be used as a tool helping to guide his steps towards knowing Jesus Christ. 
                What I discovered from using this book was that it serves multiple purposes.  I found it not only helped to walk a new believer through the first steps of a relationship with Christ, but it also helped me (the leader) learn the importance of introducing these life-changing steps into a person’s life.  This book is full of the “essentials” in every Christian walk and unless someone is shown the importance of these attributes, how will they be able to grow exponentially?

The Book
                The book is set up into seven parts called attributes.  Each attribute has five individual steps that help explain the concept in depth: 

                     Attribute 1: Learn to Be With Jesus
                                 Attribute 2: Learn to Listen
                                           Attribute 3: Learn to Heal
                                                       Attribute 4: Learn to Influence
                                                                   Attribute 5: Learn to Love    
                This book is designed in such a way that whoever is leading the disciplining has all the resources needed at their finger tips.  The back of the book is full of resources that enable the learner to apply what they are being taught in a practical manner.  This book is a great tool for any leader.  Highly recommended.    
The Results
                Each week I met with this young man with the intention of helping him take another step closer to Christ.  This man has a great heart.  The type of heart God is looking for.  He came into this discipleship process with a firm understanding that everything he has and everything he aspires to do is in the hands of God.  Naturally, his heart is gentle and compassionate to others.  He is humble and filled with gratitude, not taking anything for granted.  Needless to say, his heart was ready to receive more.

                The revelation that came for him as we began the first steps was the belief in a Savior and Lord.  It was the accepting and understanding of mankind needing to be rescued from sin and death.  From the start I could tell there was an acknowledgement of who Jesus Christ was, but had never been told that you could be close to this Jesus person.  He had never been told or shown that this Jesus who came to save the world wants nothing more than an intimate relationship with him.  So that is where we started.  

                The 1st attribute in the book is learning to be with Jesus.  It was over these few weeks that this new believer discovered that Christ desired to be his closest companion, friend and confidant.  It was incredible to see the immediate change in this man.  When we first started there was a little hesitance about what he was getting into.  Wasn’t sure about how it was going to unfold.  In the weeks to follow this young man began to seek me out, making sure we were definitely meeting that week.  His uncertainty had turned into an excitement to know more.  Something began to happening in this man, something that can only be described as the work of Christ.

                Each week this young man was challenged; challenged to step into the unknown with faith.  What a privilege it was to see him grow.  I would say the most rewarding day for me throughout this journey was the day we learned about prayer.  This was a revolutionary day in his life.  Never had he spoken a word to God verbally.  He never understood that it was about a relationship and everything that comes along with that such as conversation and fellowship.  I’m sure it was a little uncomfortable for him at first, but in the weeks to follow, his prayers began to develop into incredible conversations with God that came straight from his heart and filled with thanksgiving.  His prayers up until this point were simply reflecting on God, his creation and grandeur.  What an incredible discovery to find out you can talk with and hear from the creator himself and to understand that His intention from the beginning was to have a relationship with His creation.

                Currently, we are working through personal aspects of his life such as, developing healthy habits and getting rid of unhealthy habits.  As well as, learning how to apply what we’ve learned into his everyday life.   Here is the best part; recently he took a new position in his line of work that brought him to a new location.  He instantly made friends with another young man who is quickly “climbing up the ladder” due to excellent work.  After asking this new friend for any tips or suggestions of how to improve in his own work, the new friend replied, “I owe it all to my faith in Christ”.  How amazing is that?  These two co-workers are now setting a precedent in their office.  With their Bibles in plain view for all to see, they give all the glory to God.

The Next Time
                The book is a great tool, however to work through it one attribute and step at a time can take a while.  Needless to say, I am still working through it with this man.  I have definitely seen growth in certain areas and trusting growth will happen in the other areas.  One thing we have yet to touch on is coming to church on a regular basis.  Basically, to make church a vital part of his growth in Christ.  I know that this is important for him, but at the same time I don’t want to push him too hard or too far.  I believe the time will come when the door for this opportunity to talk with him about needing church will open up.  In the meantime, we will continue to grow together, learning what it truly means to follow Jesus.