Saturday, January 1, 2011

I hate making disciples

As I reflect on this past year and look forward into a new one, I have to admit I am really challenged by other people at times. My natural tendency is to pretty much be off the grid so to speak. I could just about disappear into solitude if given the chance and be perfectly content. I'm just wired that way I guess, but it certainly doesn't coincide with the great commission and the notion of making disciples, because after all, making disciples requires interacting with other people, warts and all.

Years ago Melissa and I lived in Vail (I'm probably the only person you'll ever know that moved away from Vail to a place like Oklahoma twice. The strings attached to a wedding ring are pretty strong if you're serious about the whole vows and commitment thing). Just a few miles west of us down HY6 there were some narrow roads headed into the mountains with residential homes peppered across the landscape going into the wilderness. The paved road eventually transitioned into a hard packed gravel and dirt forest service road. Many miles into the great Rocky Mountains this forest service road hair-pinned and meandered into some of the most amazing scenery you can imagine. Remarkably there were a handful of homes way out there in the middle of nowhere! When I say homes I don't mean mountain cabins, I mean real homes, huge, beautiful, amazing, tongue wagging homes nestled into the landscape as if they had sprouted out of the ground in perfect harmony with the surroundings. Some of these folks appeared to live there year round even, which for about 8 months of the year isn't a big deal, but the other 4 months... well lets just say you'd have to REALLY want to live there. The county keeps the main residential road passable but of course stopped at the end of the pavement. If you went up to the end of the road during the dead of winter you'd see a smattering of cars and snowmobiles parked in alignment. These hearty souls would ride their snowmobiles from their picturesque homes through feet of snow down to the paved road, park, get their car and go into town.

I describe this scene as one that depicts how I would prefer to be living my life; in isolation, surrounded by God's abundant natural beauty, with a bit of adventure tossed in. Those of you that know my wife know this would be laughable in her view of how things should be and makes our partnership all the more perplexing at times. The fact that I am married to someone who would prefer to live in Manhattan, have 5 children, and have nearly 300 employees I'm responsible for, is nothing short of a miracle in an of itself. Needless to say, the Great Commission is a real struggle for me, not because it may mean following God to the ends of the earth, (that part actually appeals to me) but because it means I am supposed to be building relationships with people, to which I mostly grit my teeth, shake my head, psyche myself up, and wade into the task.

While I typically don't do new year's resolutions, after reflecting on this past year, recent events, and looking forward, I do know I need to commit to more intentional relational interactions this year. You see, I spend the majority of my day in a virtual world. As a leader of an online college most of my interactions are virtual, email, web based course delivery, and sometimes phone conversations. This habit of doing everything "behind the screen" has a tendency to spill over to my leadership of employees, my wife, and even my children at times. While it's so much easier for me to communicate and work digitally, (and a ton of my day demands it) I am recognizing this as an inhibitor to actually making disciples, which I am supposed to be doing, if I'm serious about my faith. So while I would much rather tick off email after email, twitter posts, and web based delivery of content to lead and communicate, I recognize I must get out from behind the screen more and be more intentional with my relationships, in person, as much as possible in order to truly make disciples (note I'm not referring to necessarily leading bible studies or mentoring others, but merely leading by example and through personal relationships). This especially includes my own children and I have 5 of them. This means I really need to be intentional with my time once I'm at home and not so easily drawn back into my digital comfort zone when they demand and deserve my time.

As a starting point, it's taken me nearly all day to write this as I've attempted to be in tune with each of their needs today for time in various forms. Making disciples of all nations, for me, quite often means my family and those I encounter on a daily basis and not necessarily those in far away lands, which in some ways I find more appealing to ponder at times. So while I loathe the responsibility of making disciples, I know it is these personal and relational interactions that lead to the making of disciples, and I need to work on this throughout this year. I sense some amazing things on the horizon but I don't believe they will come to fruition without me getting out of my comfort zone and actually dealing with people.

So what are your houses in the woods obstacles to making disciples in 2011?
Published with Blogger-droid v1.6.5

No comments:

Post a Comment