Leadership & discipling: Farming

Christ is pretty clear on his expectation of us as followers to bear good fruit, to spread the good news and strengthen his church.  He states that is how we will be known as his disciples, if we bear good spiritual fruit and demonstrate love for fellow Christians (John 13:34-35).  And that we will be “cast into the fire” (discarded) if we do not (John 15:1-5).  Jesus often uses farming metaphors for the Kingdom of Heaven (his holy realm, the body of believers).  Farming isn’t easy.  But it is incredibly rewarding.   Spiritually and emotionally, if not financially.  Drive through rural North and South Carolina as we did recently to get an up close feel for that truth.  As leaders it is often easiest for us to concentrate our energies on exciting new programs, new visitors (planting seeds), new problems (pulling the weeds)… while neglecting the care and feeding of the established “crop” (our current disciples) until they show visible and often irreversible signs of spiritual disease and decay.  Discipling  is the process of strengthening your followers, i.e., fellow followers of Christ.  How is this done practically?  Through frequent encouraging and in-depth, meaningful one-on-one communion (communications) together.  Conversations, emails, phone calls, shared meals, prayer together, etc.  Asking the tough questions, and listening to the answers.  It’s time-consuming, but extremely fulfilling.  Christ had time for it. So did the Apostle Paul.  Are we busier than they?  Who are you discipling?

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