Eating breakfast in the greasy spoon restaurant in Clackamas on our way to a Cruise-In, Woody interrupted my conversation with another of his friends and quipped, “You’re a motorhead, aren’t you?” His words made me smile. His eyes twinkling, he went on, “I’ve never met a pastor who was a real motorhead.” (Definition: ‘motorhead’ - “someone who spends an inordinate amount of time in -- and derives a great deal of pleasure from -- thinking, talking, reading, fixing & hopping up any and all vehicles with motors or engines”). That really made me grin, mostly because I’d never met a worship band director who was a true motorhead!* With that, I had to disappoint him just a little by explaining that my interests stretched to anything with wheels, since I also have a passion for bicycling. Fact is, I even get a kick out of Pinewood Derby cars! If it rolls, I’m in... and the faster the better!
So imagine how cool it was when I came across a way to share FCC’s vision in the form of a wheel! (Remember: If it rolls, I’m in!) As we head through the summer, we’ll continue to unpack the nuts and bolts (motorhead talk) of becoming a church that Makes Disciples Who Make Disciples.
The wheel illustration is derived from Jesus words in Matthew 28:19-20, often called the Great Commission: “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.” It’s a pretty straightforward plan, and it worked incredibly well from the very beginning. Those early disciples pretty much turned the world upside down in a matter of a few generations!
So what about the wheel? Take a look:
The wheel illustrates the process of growth and commitment each follower of Jesus makes when they journey into becoming a true disciple. We all started spiritually dead, no matter how great we might have thought of ourselves in those days. What changed it all was surrendering our lives to the Good News (Gospel) that God had made a way back to himself through Jesus, who lived the life we couldn’t live, and died the death we had earned, so we could be adopted as kids into God’s family! So we were born... again!
What happens from our infancy depends on a number of factors, but generally our growth is dependent, like that of children, on our nurture and our will. The folks who showed us the way to Jesus are tasked with the responsibility of raising us up to maturity, but we have to be willing to go there!
The three quadrants that follow describe our growth in Jesus. The Child is, as kids are, self-centered and focused on what they want and what they get from Father and the rest of the family. They are pretty heavy into expectations, and determine if they are pleased or unhappy based on how they like things and whether their needs are being met. They show little interest in the deeper things of God, and find the rigors of growing and changing laborious and even taxing! This is normal for new Christians, but was never meant to be a stopping point. Every church has at least a few longtime members who have never gotten past this stage. Enough said about that, at least for now!
Young Adults have turned the corner in their lives, as they are stepping up to serve and doing so with excitement. They have also become motivated learners, enjoy studying and have even began taking responsibility for their own walk with God. They are eager for mentoring, willing to be corrected and motivated to grow. Young Adults really love Jesus, are eager worshipers, and find themselves quite naturally telling people about their faith They naturally complain less, as they are sensing the big picture and see their gifts and time as essential investments in building Jesus’ family. They are a delight to others in the church and truly bless those who they serve. They are also a joy to those who disciple and lead them.
Parents are all the things already described in the Young Adult brought to maturity and possessing the crucial character and skills of multiplication. Their eyes are now on the complete mission of the church and they are sold out to seeing it through. Parents are consistently sharing their faith, and are equipped and enthused by the responsibility of pouring their lives into (discipling) this new generation. Their great joy is to guide others through these same stages of growth -- around the wheel again -- until they, too, become multipliers.
The Wheel is a simple way of envisioning where we’re going at FCC. If you’re already a Christian, you can also use it to evaluate where you are in this process. As we roll (remember, if it rolls, I’m in!) through the summer, listen for opportunities to plug in, regardless of where you fall on the wheel. Whether you realize that you’ve not really grown and needs a Discipler in your life or if you’re a Parent; mature in Christ with a desire to begin leading others to Jesus and to that same maturity you’ve already experienced. As always, stay tuned!
*For those who never met him, Woody Aanestad was an incredibly gifted and skilled musician, band director and worship leader who faithfully served us at FCC for nearly 13 years before he graduated to heaven... many of us still miss him greatly!