ORANGE TIP: Multiplication
In the church as a whole we tend to have adopted, from our western educational model, a cohort-based structure of training and development. In this model we see an expert appointed to invest directly into a cohort, prepare them to do the work they are training to do and then graduate. At which point they are no longer the responsibility of the expert.
Then we start again with the next cohort. At some point we hope, someone in a cohort will come along who will become the next ‘expert’ and will eventually replace the previous expert. This cohort structure is reflected in the nature of our many of our ministries – particularly youth and children – and is not entirely bad.
However, in my understanding of Jesus model of discipleship he had no
interest in the disciples ‘graduating’ to make room for the next cohort. He
prepared them less to leave – although many of them did that too – but for him
to leave and for them to carry on – while also sending the Holy Spirit as
comforter, encourager and guide.
Paul seems to have reflected this in his approach – get things going, train people then leave, while continuing to encourage and speak into their lives through his letters.
Moving from a cohort model to a multiplication model has been a challenge that I have wrestled with both as a ministry leader and as a parent. I am still working on how to do this well. It can be risky to get out of the way and let them go for it (I’m a terrible driving instructor, for example!). One thing I’ve heard from some of the Young Adults, which I think reflects Jesus model of discipleship, is that as they begin to disciple others and teach them to disciple another generation they want me to “get out of the way, it’s our job now – but don’t just leave us alone, we still need you to walk with us”.
In my experience they still value and need encouragement, advice (sometimes), and seeing the process modelled, but they also need me to get out of the way, to NOT be the person the next generation are looking to, to NOT be the one doing all the investment, to NOT be the expert. To get out of the way and let them at it.
This is not new – “Give a man a fish…”
Multiplication means experts/parents getting out of the way but staying connected – continuing to walk arm in arm with others as they step up. I’m excited that God is leading CrossLife to value and prioritise multiplication and look forward to getting better at this myself.
What is ‘Orange’? Orange is a visual reminder that to help our kids follow Jesus the church and families need to work together.
If RED represents the love and heart of families for their kids…
And YELLOW represents the light that the church should be in the world…
Then ORANGE is when we come together, work together and guide our children together.
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