When I taught people how to shoot, I used to teach them a phrase: "Aim small, miss small" (it later gained popularity in Mel Gibson’ s movie The Patriot). In other words, your degree of miss will be in proportion to the size of your target. If you aim at the side of a barn and miss, you missed a whole barn! But if you aim at the second nail from the left on the door of the barn and miss, you’ll still hit the barn door.
Why do I bring this up? Most churches would define their jobs as trying to produce Christ followers. But when pushed a little to define what that means, most of us resort to platitudes… we lack a definable, objective measure of that journey. We aim at the big target of "making disciples" and sometimes miss big, instead of defining a more specific target of what it means to actually be a Christ follower (thereby allowing smaller misses).
Now, I understand why that is… defining the process of discipleship is a daunting task! And I doubt anyone gets it totally right. But we still have to try if we are going to help people move along their journey towards becoming more like Jesus. We have to give them a target, and "next steps".
One great target that The Orchard uses is growing people to ever greater:
1. Intimacy with God
2. Community with those close to God.
3. Influence with those far from God.
And whether you pastor a church, lead a family, or are
developing/discipling a friend… everyone needs a next step. What is
the next step on the path toward the target? By clearly defining each next step, we create an understandable path toward development, toward
maturity. And while none of us have arrived – we are all "in process"
– we CAN all learn from the steps taken by those ahead of us.
And to help people on that journey at The Orchard, we are putting together a series of Next Steps that folks can take to get to that target… a Path. This Assimilation Path is the ideal journey that someone would take on their progress as someone far from God to an ever growing relationship with Jesus.
Pastors…Parents…Leaders of all shapes – take the time to clearly define the target, the goal. Then think through the series of Next Steps to lead your people, your kids, your friends to that target. That is the essence of leadership, of discipleship. One step at a time.