We live in a day when there are two competing values: efficiency and laziness. My point is that today people want greater results by doing less. Instant oak trees are the hope. We desire instant weight loss or fitness, and we want instant disciples. None of those are possible. Leading a disciple to serve has many values that it cannot be skipped.
In a previous post, Rainer’s Four Legs of Assimilation, I shared Dr. Thom Rainer’s four legs of assimilation: expectation, involvement, relationships, and small-group involvement. What Dr. Rainer refers to as involvement, I call serving. These assimilation stool legs are essential for many reasons.
When disciples are busy, they look for corners to cut to grow as disciples in less time. They reduce or stop reading the Bible. They don’t develop any relationships. Busyness leads them not to connect in any ministry or serving in the church. They don’t get into Sunday School or small groups. As a result, a majority of them drop out of the church within six months. Ouch!
Values of Leading a Disciple to Serve
Consider the experiences you have gained from serving together with others. Write them down. My list will highlight a few of those experiences. The disciple…
- discovers and gains new and deeper relationships
- has fun
- recognizes the needs of others and provides help
- grows from leadership opportunities
- gains understanding and appreciation for the ministry in which he/she is serving
- often has closer interaction with the pastor, staff, and key church leaders
- benefits from an greater understanding and appreciation of the church
- feels more fulfilled and connected
- is less likely to disconnect and drop out.
As an encourager and disciple-maker, your efforts investing in disciples can pay huge dividends. In my experience, those who drop out of church often stop growing in Christ and stop serving Him. Serving often is one of the most efficient ways to help the disciple to stay connected and grow. It provides disciples with experiences in 2-4 of the legs of assimilation.
I would like to suggest that serving together with your disciple is often one of the key ways of helping your disciple to take steps toward serving. Even if your interests are significantly different, your investment here can lead your disciple to develop relationships, experience expectations, and encourage involvement in a small group–all while serving.
What can you do to build serving into your disciple’s experience early–ideally in the first six month? Build this into your disciple-making strategy. Serve together. Debrief those experiences. Provide encouragement. Be a disciple. Make disciples!