Real Life Discipleship: People of Peace
How do you actually disciple people of peace?
Getting to the point of connecting with new people who are not yet following Jesus is a major milestone. For many groups this marks a shift in culture, a shift in pattern of meeting and a shift in openness to what God might do through them. This is a milestone that is rightly celebrated. The new relationships bring fresh energy to the group, but what next?
Today here are three reflections on how we have gone about the next step of discipleship. In many ways very similar to how I disciple my two year old toddler.
The ancient discipline of learning to pray is, we know, essential. But often we assume people will just know what to do. It is often most effective to assume people haven’t been taught this and to find ways of modelling simple and repeatable patterns of prayer.
With a two year old we have tried teaching her to say thank you when we brush our teeth. We also have been teaching her one line prayers for dinner time, or when she has hurt herself, or at bed time.
Think about how you are modelling prayer. Can you find ways of modelling and allowing space for one sentence prayers? Perhaps prayers of thanks round a dinner table? Or getting two people to pray one line prayers of intercessions when anyone shares news? If you model prayer as something long and complicated it makes it harder for people to get started.
2. Invite people into the patterns of your family life
Let those who are connecting with the missional community join in with what you and your household are already doing.
This is how we teach our children all sorts of habits and skills. My toddler watches me and learns. Often she is coming along to the places I am going and joining in with the set up, the activities and the clear up. Sometimes she is happy just to be there and run around the room and sometimes she wants to be clearly involved in the task I am doing. Both are part of her learning.
Perhaps you could invite them to the park with you? Or to come and serve with you somewhere? What do you know God has called you to do and how can you invite people of peace to join you in it?
3. Say yes to offers of help or resources
My daughter’s frequent question at the moment is “need any help mummy”? And some mornings my heart is warm to this offer and yes I would love her to help me. Some days when I have just told her I am going upstairs to get dressed and she offers to “help” me I feel less than enthusiastic at the thought of explaining to her again that I can’t wear three dresses and no underwear as an outfit.
In the beginning it takes time to let people help you and it is quicker to do it alone, but over the long-term, teaching people of peace how to help means we are multiplying ourselves in others creating more disciples.
Discipling people of peace is sometimes messy, often time consuming, and more fun than you think.
Jenny Irvine, together with her husband Gareth and young daughter Jessica, lead a missional community base called Saint Aidan’s in the north of the city of Coventry. They’ve taken a small team of young adults with them, to live as in incarnational community focused around prayer and mission. They are currently involved in Kidz Klub which works with children from challenging housing estates, and visit about 30 families each week on the estate where they live.