"You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God's word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food." Hebrews 5:12
In part one, I discussed that many of our modern churches struggle to create effective disciples who become spiritually mature then go on and replicate themselves fulfilling the Great Commission and leading others.
Throughout the rest of this series, I will give you principles for understanding ourselves, one another, and our relationships to Christ through the discipleship lens. I will give you Jesus’ model for focusing on multiplication through the process of disciple making.
Jesus had twelve close, personal disciples who followed Him and learned from him throughout his public ministry. Jesus often challenged people, invited people to follow Him but extended grace while people grew in their faith. The word ‘disciple’ literally means ‘learner’.
There are three styles of learning – Classroom, Apprenticeship and Immersion. Within these three learning styles, we also have three modalities of learning – Audible, Visual and Kinesthetic.
Churches often approach Discipleship under the premise that if they can convey the right information to people (through mainly sermons, classes and small groups) that people will assimilate and start living more Christ-like. This model is predominately using the Classroom style of learning with some Apprenticeship mixed in, quite often this is merely one-way information exchange – someone preaches, and the listener is supposed to absorb and apply the information. While this model of information exchange often worked with those born before 1965, it is not the most effective model for those born after 1965 and it is definitely not the most effective model for Discipleship.
If we want to move from Milk to Meat or Believer to Disciple, this does not happen by simply preaching or giving people a list of things to do – pray, read your Bible, invite your friends on Sunday. Jesus own disciples often struggled and they had first hand access and knowledge of Christ’s teachings. Often we have to be taught using all three learning styles and multiple modalities in order for us to fully understand and internalize our faith.
Instead of giving people lists or speeches, we need to teach people how to listen to God and how to learn and discern what God is calling and telling us do to in our lives, on a daily basis. I often joke that if God would just show up to Starbucks, we could have a weekly meeting and he could tell me what to do, but that’s not how God works. Often, God places circumstances, opportunities and events in our lives to speak to us. We call these Kairos moments.
Kairos = is the Greek word meaning the right or opportune moment. A Karois moment in Discipleship is a significant time or event in our life to help us see how God is speaking to us in that moment.
Psalm 23 is most often quoted during funerals but honestly; this passage is really a snap shot of our entire lives and walks with Christ. The Psalmist is using the metaphor of a Sheppard to illustrate how God is with us. Quite often, we think that once we receive salvation, we’ve reached the mountaintop and our journey is over. But the mountain top is not the final destination: a shepherd will lead his sheep up and down the ravine many times as one pasture is depleted and another has regrown. God may choose to lead us up and down ravines in order to prepare and grow us according to His Plan.
Life is constant change, and change is usually uncomfortable and scary for most people. Often, people resist and avoid change at all costs because change often involves leaving something behind, facing fear and doubt, and setting out on a journey with no guarantees. We all go through good times and bad times. The one thing we can control in all situations is how we react to others, situations and life circumstances. I once heard a sermon series that stated that God places kairos moments in our lives to prepare us for greater things and how we react to God’s challenges speaks volumes of our faith and spiritual maturity and is often the deciding factor on whether we will face that challenge again in life.
With any life event, we can either learn from them, or ignore them and watch them happen again and again.
A kairos moment can come in all shapes and sizes. It can be the sudden acknowledgment that there is unrepentant sin in your life, a Bible passage that instructs or convicts you, or a gut feeling that you need to take action on something. Kairos moments are always positive or negative, they are never neutral and they leave an impact on you, and change your life. The essential thing is that we recognize that God is challenging us and using that moment to teach us something. Kairos moments are often opportunities to grow spiritually and emotionally based on how we react to them and if we accept God’s challenge and invitation.
There are six steps to navigating any Kairos moment and using these six steps will not only make the moment easier but also allow us to grow through these moments. One of the most effective ways to navigate and grow from Kairos moments is to share and discuss these moments with others who have been through similar life events.
As a leader, I often walk people through this process by using the Challenge, Invitation and Grace Model. I would orchestrate discussions, exercises or events that would guide our group through this process.
Observe: We first need to notice that God is teaching us something and in order to change our lives and grow, we need to observe where we are. This means taking account of our reactions, emotions and thoughts in the moment and often looking at the moment as a positive opportunity.
Reflect: This means asking ourselves why we reacted or felt the way we did. Were we justified or just being sensitive or selfish? The goal is to clarify what God is trying to teach you through that moment. If real change and spiritual growth is going to take place, we must be honest and transparent with our answers.
Discuss/Discover: Discussing your thoughts, feelings or shortcomings with a group, accountability partner or spiritual mentor is important. It’s often difficult to share our thoughts and struggles with someone else but transparency will help you grow and change the way you internalize the moment. Discussing is also highly beneficial in groups as others may have similar struggles and can learn or identify with you and everyone grows together through this shared experience and community.
Plan: After reflecting on our Kairos moment and discussing it with others, the next step is to plan for inner and lasting change. This always involves prayer and considering how we can build a life based on faith rather than worry and regret. We must often consider the best course of action that is the most glorifying to God rather than are own desires or comforts.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
Accountability: If your course of action is going to succeed and create lasting change, there needs to be at least one person holding you accountable. Even Jesus’ Disciples were sent out in pairs. If you don’t already have an accountability partner, ask someone to pray with you and keep them up to date with how you're doing with your course of action.
Action: Once our plan has been established and shared with an accountability partner, the next and often most important step is to take action. Authentic faith is always evidenced through our actions. Faith is supposed to be lived out in our daily lives as evidence of the Holy Spirit convicting and changing our hearts.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
In Part Three, we will discuss how to deal with being too busy and exhausted in our daily lives. We will explore using a biblical framework for a rhythm of life that allows us to be fruitful while also being at rest.