We have a core value here at NCC: Everything is an experiment. That's a good thing to keep in mind as I consider ways to more effectively disciple our people.
There are 29 books currently sitting on my desk. I recently moved another 17 books from my "to be read" stack over to the "already read" shelf on my bookcase. All have been strategically selected to help me pray about, process, and design our discipleship strategy at NCC. I want to learn from what other people have done. I want to examine historical models and contemporary methods of discipleship. But it becomes incredible overwhelming and confusing as I read so many models that claim to be the best approach to build community and make disciples and structure the church.
Like every normal person of my generation, I embrace a Burger King philosophy: I want it my way right away. I have a tendency to want everything to happen now. As I walk this journey of discovering how people grow spiritually and designing experiences to help people put feet to their faith, I find it encouraging (and sometimes a little discouraging) to realize the following:
- It took John Wesley 15 years to develop and fully implement his discipleship system that later became the Methodist Church.
- It took Willow Creek Community Church 7 years to develop their small group program.
- Yoido Full Gospel Church in Korea, the largest cell church in the world with 25,000 small groups, overhauled their group strategy 3 major times before finding the right fit.
My point- it's going to take experimentation. And it's going to take time. I am so thankful for the zone leaders, small group leaders, and others who are so supportive and enthusiastic about what we are doing. There may be some bumps and bruises along the way. But I know that God will unveil his plan to us if we are willing to follow him.