“Do you mean to say you guys had conversations about me and my walk with Christ? Like you had a plan for me? A napkin diagram of how things should go?” Yup, this little bomb was dropped a couple of weeks ago at Jared Siebert’s Church Plant Design Shop. Perhaps a bit of back story is required here.
I met Dan and Kathy Sheffield a few years ago at Buchanan Park FMC. There I joined a study group for new seekers that Dan facilitated. The idea of house church emerged from this study group and that is how Uncrowded House was born. We have been in community together for the past four years and we hoped the Church Plant Design Shop would help us determine our next steps as a community.
The workshop was awesome. Jared spoke about cultural understanding, mission flexibility, church planting stages, research methods and value based evaluation. We spent a good chunk of time working on our community’s guiding ideas – the core values that give a prospective newbie enough information to meaningfully decide if they want to belong to our church plant. It was strange to see what we had been living out for the past four years mapped out on paper.
The following day Jared asked us to discuss how people would become fully devoted followers of Jesus in our church. Dan mapped out my journey and that of fellow planter Mandy Parr on a piece of paper including everything from our first study group to our baptisms to leading worship and so on. It was all there in black and white. I learned that Dan and Kathy had discussed my journey with Christ at every stage. This went beyond strange to the point of freaking me out a bit. This was my private, personal, intimate walk with God so what were they doing in the middle of it with their napkin doodles?
To disciple: to guide someone in becoming a follower of Jesus. That is exactly what Dan and Kathy were doing in the middle of it. For several years they were quietly walking with me in the most loving, thoughtful and prayerful way possible. I still can’t explain why I was initially so upset by a discipleship plan because really if any venture is worthy of a plan surely this is it.
Perhaps part of the unease was realizing that I had come full circle and I was now at a place where I could disciple someone. It is a weighty responsibility. My prayer is that I will follow in the footsteps of those who led me to be a follower of Jesus and that I too would walk with love, grace, understanding and patience.
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The Free Methodist Church in Canada
4315 Village Centre Court
Mississauga Ontario L4Z 1S2
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