I’ve been working at the factory for a couple of months now and there’s a picture for ministry there that I can’t ignore.
When I first arrived there was a guy who came alongside me and showed me the ropes. He was patient with me, answered my questions, and showed me some of the easier ways to do things. He let me know when I was doing things wrong. He taught me how to do a few of the stations on our line. He has since moved on to another factory but now I am the one who has been training a few newbies on the easier equipment. And I have tried to pass on what others have passed on to me. I have tried to be patient and answer questions and show a few of the ways to do things easier.
Over the last couple of days I have been learning a new station that involves welding. I now want a T-shirt for Christmas that says ‘Born To Weld’. It’s a pretty cool thing to do. In fact I want to weld more than I’m suppose to! One of the leaders on our line showed me how to do it a couple of times. I watched her and then tried it out by myself as she watched at a distance. She corrected my flubs and then let me go it alone. I had talked to a couple of the vets and they taught me a couple of tricks of the trade. One guy pointed out one thing in one area and another guy pointed out an easier way to do things in another area. I have improved my speed in light of these suggestions.
I am seeing, in one sense, a community of discipleship. I will say that most of the people, that I know of, want each other to succeed in the factory setting. I have heard of some who don’t, but by and large, many want to see the other guys and gals succeed in the workplace: to produce more units…to increase safety…to do what we do with a high calibre of product.
Some churches are just like the factory that I work in. Gone is the Long Ranger mentality when it comes to faith. Some people in some churches are there to pray with, counsel with, disciple, correct, rebuke, celebrate, sorrow with, and share life with. Gone is the ‘me and Jesus’ mentality and embraced is the ‘us and Jesus’ mindset. There is much one-on-one discussion where truth and wisdom and care and even laughs are shared. There are small group meetings where the same sort of things takes place.
I would suggest that discipleship in the church is an overflow of discipleship in the home. If there is a family who is not afraid to enter the ‘tunnel of chaos’ and hard discussions of correction, then that is a foundation for discipleship in the church. Our homes should also be a place of encouragement for each other…not ego stroking, but genuine biblical encouragement and affirmation.
If the household is a place where there are relationships of care and concern and mindfulness of the goal of making disciples, that will spill over into church world. But if the household is a place where everyone does there own thing and tells each other what they want to hear and not what they need to hear, they bring that baggage into the local church and are surprised and sometimes annoyed and maybe even offended when others want to include them in the discipleship process, as a student or as a teacher or as both.
We need disciple-making churches…churches that are less concerned about nickels and noses. I believe that if we focus on the main thing, disciplemaking, then the numbers and finances will take care of themselves. Don’t get me wrong, numbers are important and so are the finances, but they are secondary issues. I often quote John MacArthur who says something like “if I take care of the depth of my ministry, then the breadth of my ministry will take care of itself.”
 And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart.  You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
(Deuteronomy 6:6-7 ESV)
 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
(Matthew 28:19-20 ESV)
 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18 ESV)