Making Disciples is like playing in the sand

The original article and image is located here.

Western Hills exists to make disciples who love God, live connected and serve all. And sometimes we get lazy around here and shorten that to Love, Live, and Serve. Which is okay as long as we don’t forget that we are supposed to be making disciples that love, live, and serve…not an organization that loves, lives, and serves. Or programs or systems either.

We are in the people making business…or life change market. Whichever metaphor you prefer, the point is the tools, programs, systems exist to help us make disciples that look more like Jesus. We don’t exist to keep the organization, tools, programs, systems in place. They are dispensable. People are not.

What has that got to do with a sand sculpture that looks like Darth Vader? I’m glad you asked. When we go to the beach, we take pretty much the same tools every time – a bucket or two, a couple of those cheap, plastic mini-shovels and rakes (which never get used). We’ll have the strainer thing and perhaps a “mold” that looks like a castle wall. And pretty much every time our castle looks exactly the same…lame.

I hate this for my family. I always feel like a failure of a dad when we go to the beach for this reason. I’d love to make an homage to Star Wars on the beach the next time we go. I’d be the coolest dad on the beach. People would flock from miles around to stare in wonder. When I see other people’s creations on the sandy canvas, I always have this nagging thought – ‘You know…I could do that. It’s just sand. They are probably better parents than we are too.’

But it’s never going to happen for me. Never. I’m not being fatalistic at all. I will never be a great sand artist. Why?

First, I hate the sand. It’s itchy, scratchy, rough, and messy.
Second, I have little sculpture skills. Who am I kidding – I have NO sculpting skills.
Third, I don’t have the patience to make a sweet looking castle.
Fourth, even if I did have the skills and patience – I don’t have the tools. I’ve seen what those sand sculpture people bring to the beach to make their creations. I don’t have those kind of tools for my lawn or my home. It’s crazy.

And these are the same reasons why some people (and churches) never make disciples either. They don’t really like people – because they are itchy, scratchy, rough, and messy. They don’t have the skills. Nor do they want to learn them. They aren’t patient with people and their messes. And even those who do have the patience, they don’t feel like they have the proper tools.

Ouch, huh?

Well, our summer sermon series is one piece of the tool kit. Learning how to read and apply the Bible for ourselves. That’s a huge tool in making disciples and ANYBODY can do this. We’ll be adding more tools this fall but my prayer for our church and our people is that we begin to start liking itchy, scratchy, rough, messy people.


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