Monday, December 8, 2008
2nd December 2008, Lumbadzi
Lumbadzi. It is a 5 minute drive from the airport...left, so it took us 30 minutes to get there. This was a pastors’ fraternity that had asked us to come and talk about discipleship. We arrived and there were three or four of them present. We waited for some time for more to arrive and eventually they did. In the end, we had 27 pastors.
The teaching was on discipleship, but God had spin on it. We fail to disciple because it takes too much; too much time, too much of ourselves. Witnessing Christ is simpler, over between ten and thirty minutes. Discipling is investment. It is hard and challenging. Follow me as I follow Christ, Paul taught. He was willing to step up to walk circumspect, willing to be a reflection that could be trusted, willing to be openly transformed into the likeness of Christ. Discipleship is a subject dearest to my heart. I have been discipled by great women and I have been the better for it. I am the poster girl for this subject. I have always wanted to be discipled, knowing that it is a key part of becoming who I needed to be. There have been tears and laughs, hugs and evil glares (from me...) but I would not trade any of it. Everything, hard and soft, understood and not, all make me Keta. There are things I have taken and they are a part of what I do and there are things that I have not taken and they have taught me how not to be and so all the discipling I have sat under and will continue to in future, I will never regret. This was the place where I came from and the reason why I loved talking about it. My disciple came. I look at her and some others and I know that, at least with this...I did okay.
God has me in that place though; the place where I want to dig a hole and disappear. I hear the words coming out of my mouth and I am afraid. Moses comes to mind. Don’t get me wrong, by no means am I comparing myself to this incredible man or his extraordinary circumstances. I’m just saying that he is the one I identify with when I am speaking to men of God and rebuking them. There I was, this ‘no one’ telling these pastors about what they need to look into.
“A disciple maker...” was the opening line of every point I had. I could sense the anger in some, the conviction in others and encouragement from my team. We told them they could stone me later but that I was sent by God and they should, at least listen before throwing anything our way. When I usually say this, many think I am joking. No so, many times I sense the anger and I get a little afraid that I am crossing lines that aren’t meant to be crossed. I minister in communities where almost no women are in leadership, let alone going about rebuking anyone. It is humbling to speak to men who are pastors and let God say His piece. It is not that I was not afraid, because I was. It is usually that God knows that I would chicken out and so He uses me as his mouth piece on the spot and much of what I’m hearing is news to me too right there and then.
So there we were, in a new place, no reputation, no relationship upon which to suddenly be rebuking...but there we were speaking out. Pastors want to fill the churches and collect in on tithes and feed their families and so some things about discipleship aren’t appealing to them. Here are some of the points we covered. Using John the Baptist, we talked about how a true disciple maker:
• A disciple maker is one who first of all knows his place. One who puts himself in clear perspective to the Christ. So often people are more honouring of their pastors than of the Holy Spirit. A worship of pastors has begun to filter into the church as more and more pastors place themselves above others. The elevation of this part of the five-fold ministry has been such that pastors are becoming more and more isolated and elevated. Few speak up and bring true clarity so men and woman cannot make this mistake that we tend to make....
• One who gives a clear understanding of Christ to his disciples. On so many occasions people are being introduced to the job giver, the rent payer, the money maker and yet John make it clear who he was revealing...the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
As a result, the disciples were free to follow Christ and leave John. So many people are fearful of leaving their churches because it is construed as a betrayal. People ought to be free to follow Jesus when He leads them. Should it be such a horrid thing for a person to say, “I am not fitting here, I believe that I should be at the church down the street.” Most would not even tell their pastor. They just disappear. Not that they don’t care but because leaving is seen as a betrayal. Yet, the allegiance was not to pastors as individuals, nor to the fraction of the vision that they hold but the allegiance is to Christ and where He leads, every man, woman and child should be free to follow. There were more points but as I love this subject so much, I am fearful of writing a book right here and now and subjection the reader of this blog to that...
We spoke about allowing the disciple to learn in transparency and authenticity by being open about strengths and weaknesses as Paul was when he shared his weaknesses. sharing his weaknesses allowed for God's strength to be made manifest. We also spoke about the disciple maker not being afraid of tough love...not being afraid of losing a good tither through offense, trusting that God knows just what each of us needs to get us out of the enemy’s danger zone.
In the end we asked the question: “how far have we come? What is the difference between us today and the old church where the priest was distinct in garments, people bowed to them and they had special treatment? Have we not replaced altar boys with ushers who usher in the man of God during worship, as if the worship has set a stage for the entrance for the pastor? How far have we truly come and what, what will the Groom say of the best man’s treatment of His bride when He comes?”
Well, going home, I was relieved. We made it out in one piece. We went in, spoke the word, and made it out. It was exhilarating. The anointing is quite powerful. Courage and power all rolled into one...enough to let you know that, what just happened in there, is not you. Thank God too. I truly believe that if I had to do that alone, I would get stoned. This is not to say that they will not stone me with the anointing...look at Stephen. All I’m saying is that, thank God for God.