Last week I had a bit of a quiet day to reflect on discipleship in the messy context. This is what I shared with Jane and the rest of the BRF Messy Church team. As ever, work in progress rather than definitive answers:
I’ve pondered the input we’ve had on the discipleship question and I’ve ended up (temporarily no doubt) with a sense of permission-giving: if some people WANT to and feel called to do interviews / surveys to find out where people are at in their discipleship, that is a good approach and to be encouraged as much as any other. There is evidence that interviews can help both congregation members and team. And the more hard data we can get our hands on, the better.
Just because I feel uneasy about doing such a survey myself doesn’t mean it’s not a very valid way forward for people who do feel confident about it. And I need to take seriously the ‘one size doesn’t fit all’ approach and welcome the fact that for some people, interviews are a very fruitful way forward, just as those people need to accept that slow and unarticulated witness is a valid way forward in other contexts. We mustn’t get into a ‘you’ve got to do it my way’ mindset but rather encourage and learn from each other.
BRF’s role is then to provide a really good set of examples of interview questions to use / choose from, and to encourage those churches to share their data with us to be dispersed around the network. And back up other forms of discipleship too.
I’ve been working on six questions and here are the answers I ended up with via a long series of questions that raised more questions:
Why do we want people in MC to be / become disciples?We want ‘life in all its fullness’ for everyone. It has to be ‘born again’ in each person: it’s about life, not about power and structures.
What is discipleship?It’s varied, it’s ongoing, it can be both articulated and / or subconscious and both forms are valid.
What are the particular issues for messy families?It has to work for them! It’s very practical. Will it change their life for the better? Is it true?
What might messy discipleship look like?It’s like bringing up children.
How can a local Messy Church team encourage discipleship?Being, modelling, articulating the unspoken, carrying AND pushing out of the nest to fly.
How can BRF help Messy Churches in this process?Enable; don’t dictate.