Dan on Discipling

Dan Edelen writes on discipling, pointing out that it’s in God’s time, not ours, that He makes things beautiful:

I don’t know how many times I’ve seen a “discipler”—typically loaded down with one agenda after another—run roughshod over a “disciplee.” I’ve lost track of how many people have walked away from the faith or turned irrevocably bitter because a discipler didn’t take the time to ask, “What is God doing in this person’s life?” Asking that question rather than stating, “And now, this is what I will be doing in this person’s life,” would have made a world of difference. …
Anymore, I feel that my role in discipling consists of one thing: to be available for other people. Just to be there. When they struggle with an area of life, rather than me telling them, “Oh, you shouldn’t be struggling,” or “You should be doing this, this, this and this,” instead I’ll be asking , “How can I be there for you to help you become more like Jesus?”
Because when it all comes down to it, God makes disciples. And He makes them by His means, in His time, under His conditions. What He asks of me is that I be available for His use as a tool in other people’s lives. “Here am I, send me” is not just a call to the mission field, but the call of one person to walk alongside another.

Amen. I’ve learned this lesson too, and seen it work. I’ve got nothing much to offer people but my ear, and I’m amazed, when I give that alone, what good it can do in their lives. Amazed.
I need to remember that. I get bogged down in not knowing enough, understanding perfectly and having all the right answers. I don’t need any of that, I just need to be there, listening.
And no, Dan is not from the ICOC. I wouldn’t be surprised if he never heard of us. Just goes to show, we were not alone in our folly.
Also, check out his amazing list of 100 truths he’s learned in 30 years as a disciple. I’m approaching the 2 decade mark so I ought to be able to a list of 60 or so such proverbs. Not even close.

And She Said Yes …

15 years ago, on a chilly Cincinnati evening, while thousands of little ones were running from door to door looking for tricks or treats, I knelt down (right about here) and asked this amazing small woman who had flipped my world around to do the unthinkable – spend the rest of her life next to me.
The crazy woman said yes.
And the roller coaster began. My life would never be the same, the twists and turns were unexpected – and joyous. Who knew there was so much out there that I would never have seen. If I could, I’d do it all over again. Twice.
The funny thing is that I asked her to share my journey, but it’s been me sharing hers that has been the blessing.
Thanks Honey.

Walking Novels

A good reminder from Patrick Mead:

Treat everyone special today. They are having a hard time of it. They are novels that will never be written. Instead, they will be lived out, a 3D play about good and evil, darkness and light.

It always seems that folks have it all together, and I don’t. Take heart – none of us do. We’re just good actors.
Also good to keep in mind when you think that there’s not much for you to do to minister to the people around you. There is, they just hide their needs well. Go love them and see what happens.

Now How Much Will You Pay?

There have been some rumblings of late about the proposal formally known as the UP, now the UPC. I’ve thought about posting on it, but Pinakidion has been doing a good job at keeping up with it. Alan has a great essay on it up now too. Mostly I prefer to ignore it lately.
This past week however, was the big leaders shindig, the International Leadership Conference. There was a lot of UPC activity. There’s still a push to get the rest of the churches who haven’t signed to get with the program and ratify the dumb thing.
But the thing that got my attention was a report on the delegate meeting at a new site that I just learned about, ICOC Hot News. The site is run by Mike Taliaferro & Justin Renton. Mike wrote the report on the delegate meeting. This is what got my attention.

Disciples Today is asking each first world church to give $6 per member per year to help maintain and expand our web presence. All agreed that Disciples Today needs to be a website without subscription fees. Of course, the delegates have no authority to tax anyone. They will simply appeal to the local congregations for support.

I like the fact that they at least agree that they can’t tax us, that’s nice. I also like that they think that Disciples Today shouldn’t have subscription fees. Both come right after asking for $6/member to run DT.
For our 120 member church, that’s $720 per year to DT. That’s over 10 times what I spend on salguod.net, and I bet it’s many times what our church spends on its web site.
Lets do a little math. Mission Memo reports an estimated 2006 ICOC membership of around 88,500 and that 38% are in the USA. That means about 33,600 folks in the US. Assuming that they are only asking USA churches (they are likely asking all 1st world, a higher number) for $6 that means they are asking for $201,700 per year for DT.
That’s absolutely nuts. That’s over 2,000 times the cost of running salguod.net. No reason at all that it should cost so much. I would guess it should cost a hundredth of that amount. Where in the world are they going to spend $200 grand? Salaries? How many full time folks do they need and at what salary? Someone tell me that I interpreted this wrong.
The bigger question to me is didn’t any of the delegates have a calculator? Did this proposal just go through unquestioned? I have no idea, but Mike reports it rather nonchalantly as if it was perfectly reasonable.
Not to mention that DT is not the best designed site. When I was a member, I found it hard to navigate and a little buggy. The connections feature (one of the reasons I actually joined) was disappointing as there weren’t many folks on it and it actually was an additional cost to connect with the few that were there. If they are going to command the kind of money that they have been ($40 per year membership fee now for first world individuals) or collect from churches at the rate they are proposing, they need to seriously update the site.
I’ve got an idea. I’ll do it for half that amount. That’s right Cooperating Churches, give me a mere $100,000 per year and I’ll run DT. What a bargain.
I guess I’ve got something to talk to the board about now.

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