Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tour Guides vs. Travel Agents

Some of the best discipleship advice I ever learned was from a book on evangelism. It's more important to be a tour guide than a travel agent. Thank you, Rick Richardson.

There is a big difference between being a travel agent and a tour guide. Travel agents sit in the climate-controlled comfort of an office, sit behind a desk, and give you brochures telling you where to go, how to get there, what to do once you're there, and what you might see along the way. They may or may not have even been there before.

Tour guides are different. They lace up the hiking books, strap on the pack, and go on the journey with you. Tour guides have trekked the path before and can interpret the path for you along the way. They don't just warn you of possible dangers; they help you walk through them.

Good disciple-makers are tour guides who see the hand of God at work in a person’s life and point it out. In 2 Timothy 1:5, Paul acknowledges the influence of Timothy’s mother and grandmother in the development of his faith. He saw that hand of God and helped Timothy understand his spiritual history. Paul also used examples from everyday life—athletes, soldiers, and farmers—to describe the work that Timothy was called to do. People who leave legacies are able to make the simple things profound and the complex things simple. They see the hand of God in a person’s life and point it out to them and help them understand how God is at work in their lives. And they see the simple things in life and use them to paint pictures of our complex calling in God.

What does this mean practically? We can't just talk about prayer in our small groups; we've got to do it with people. We can't just complete a workbook on serving our community; we've got to get out there and do it. We can't just explain to someone the best way to lead a group; we've got to do it alongside them.

Be a tour guide.


At 9:59 AM, Blogger Michael C. Mack said...

Thanks, Heather. This is a very helpful description to consider for anyone discipling another person or overseeing a discipleship or small group ministry. I'm sharing this with others on our team to discuss. Good stuff!

At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Jay said...

Great post, Heather! We absolutely do need more people doing and less people coaching from the sidelines.


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