This is a followup to a previous post, 7 Things We’ve Learned in Seven Years. This is the second principle that God has shown us as we’ve walked the journey of disciple-multiplying movement ministry:
Pour deeply into the few who will obey no matter what the cost
After being trained in March 2013 in the patterns and principles of multiplicative discipleship I returned home to Tampa, Florida to begin putting them into practice. I was extremely enthusiastic and had lots of relationships to begin engaging in to pass on to others what had been passed on to me. I was like a man with his hair on fire.
My mentor/coach Curtis Sergeant met with me over the phone weekly the first month, biweekly the second month and one time the third month. After the third month (seeing I was serious and attempting to obey) he said, “Call me whenever and however many times you want.” I took him at his word. I called him multiple times a day, every week. For years—I am not exaggerating. He modeled the principle of mentoring for me.
“I was like a man with his hair on fire.”
Curtis would also visit Tampa from his home in Alabama every year for the first 3 years. He would spend several weeks observing and coaching into me. He repeatedly would say, “Lee have you ever considered pouring deeply into a few people?”
I told him (almost verbatim), “You don’t know what your talking about. This is working!” With my background in sales, I assumed he just didn’t get the concepts of pipeline development and effectively closing the deal. I was making his good thing “better.”
He would regularly respond with encouragements that my efforts in the “Model” phase of the disciple-making process were good, but that I needed to spend more time in the “Assist” phase—which was all but non-existent for me. I was showing the disciple-making process to anyone and everyone who seemed interested, getting them onboard and then moving on to model to new people. Engaging people is one of the things I do best; staying with people is not. And it showed.
“I told him, ‘You don’t know what your talking about. This is working!'”
Curtis was emphasizing a key disciple-making principle that we had to learn the hard way: Pour deeply into the few people who will obey no matter the cost. I had been practicing the alternative: engaging the many people who will be curious for a brief season but won’t stay in it for the long haul.
“You have heard me teach things that have been confirmed by many reliable witnesses. Now teach these truths to other trustworthy people who will be able to pass them on to others..” (2 Timothy 2.2, NLT)
Like Jesus, we need to live and model the gospel with people rather than just sharing with them; “do life” with others while passing on the principles. Filter for those who want to sacrificially follow Jesus instead of those who would like to, but who aren’t really willing to make that commitment.
There are few who will follow this narrow path. Find the faithful ones. The ones he has given to each of us.
“I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word.” (John 17.6, NLT)