I came across an interesting challenge from our TG friend Eric Foley in his blog on discipleship. The focus of his blog entry was on not doing all our discipling at retreats or over a cup of coffee. But rather imitate Christ and disciple people as you go. Take people along and let the example you give on the journey be part of your discipleship training.
For example in the last few years of my time pastoring a church I stated taking some of the church members with me to hospital visits. I did not train them to visit the sick; I just took them with me. We all learned a great deal by doing it together.
So now let’s take this same principle and see how it fits TG.
The ‘programs’ we are seeking to fund (missionaries, sending agencies, rescue ministries, churches and para-churches) all have the same opportunity to bring people along in their transformation. We can do this through imitation.
Rather than just teaching about the powerful changes of the local soup kitchen, take them to the local soup kitchen with you. Rather than just teaching the church attender the power of visiting the sick, take them with you to visit the sick. For a missionary serving on the other side of the world you may say, “I cannot take all my champions to the ends of the earth to experience the outreach.” True, but remember serving the world with a servant’s heart is at the core of the Great Commission. So show a servant heart serving with them. Seek ways to serve the champion not just for the champion to serve you.
Allow your service to be a reflection of what you are teaching them when you do meet for a cup of coffee or speak from a pulpit. Reach out to others together. Serve as you go and imitate the heart of Christ to the champion.
Basically we can take people deeper in their journey of transformation by getting our hands dirty and doing it with them. In this we are discipling by example and using our actions for opportunities to reinforce the principles we teach. Seeing us practice what we preach as we go is a key way to getting the message out of the building and into the street.