Fri. Mar 5th, 2021

Fast and Cheap Disciplemaking
Chris Adsite

Two building contractors were chatting over coffee one day.

“Have you heard about those new titanium-alloy girders?” Joe asked. “They’re supposed to be strong enough to withstand a nine-point earthquake!”

“Yeah, I heard about ’em,” replied Sam. “But they’re worthless. You’ll never catch me building with them.”

“What do you mean ‘worthless’? Build a skyscraper with those and it’ll never fall. Totally fire-proof, too – can withstand a ten-thousand degree fire!”

“Sure they’re durable. But they’re too expensive! And hard to work with! And they add to your construction time!”

“Well, what do you use instead?” asked Joe.

“I prefer plastic and Styrofoam,” Sam replied.

“What? That’s crazy! For girders?”

“Sure! If you use enough of them, they’ll hold a building up – at least for a while. You don’t need any heavy equipment – we can just throw the beams up by hand! Forget riveting – we use glue and Swintec staples! And if things are a little out of kilter, you can just hit it with a hammer or chop a little off with a knife! As long as the wind doesn’t blow and there are no earthquakes, hot days or heavy birds landing on it, it’s great!”

Joe was incredulous. “You can’t mean it! Aren’t you worried about safety or longevity or anything? Don’t you care about your reputation as a contractor?”

“Listen,” said Sam. “My job is to construct a building, and when I’m done, it’s someone else’s baby. I can’t be held responsible for building maintenance as well. I build them! And as you know, I build them faster than anyone in the city – 25 skyscrapers per year! Now that’s the reputation I care about!”

Many disciplemakers approach their mission of disciplemaking with the same attitude. Their objective is not strong, stable disciples, but the speedy completion of a program, quantity, quick turn-over rates, and a checked-off agenda.

Paul spends an entire chapter warning disciplemakers against just such an approach. At first glance, most people conclude that 1 Corinthians 3’s discussion about gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay and straw refers to our works being tried before the judgment seat of Christ. But in fact, the context is disciplemaking, and the kinds of materials one uses to build into the life of another!

In the first nine verses of the chapter, Paul chastises the Corinthians for their lack of growth and their “I’m of Paul” and “I’m of Apollos” contentions. He points out that his work and Apollos’ work as ministers is important (“I planted, Apollos waters . . .) but God was the one who  caused the actual growth and He is the owner – they are God’s field and God’s building.

But then Paul points out in the next several verses that God had hired him to be the “building contractor”, and that he took his work very seriously.

“By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he [the building] will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he [the builder] will suffer loss; he himself [the disciple] will be save, but only as one escaping through the flames.” (1 Cor. 3:10-15)

What’s your attitude toward the “building” God has given you to work on? Is disciplemaking an optional pursuit with you, something you like to fiddle with if you’ve got time? Or are you co-laboring with God to build a superstructure of steel and concrete, enabling that disciple to stand firm in the storms and earthquakes of life? The day will come with the quality of work we’ve done will be apparent to all.

The above article, “Fast and Cheap Disciplemaking,” is written by Chris Adsite. The article was excerpted from website, where it was posted in June of 2012.

The material is most likely copyrighted and should not be reprinted under any other name or author. However, this material may be freely used for personal study or research purposes.

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