This past week our team began a process of reevaluating who we are as a team, our purpose, role, mission, and what God is trying to say to us in regards to restructuring for greater effectiveness in the ministry He has given.
We decided to go back to the book of Acts for instruction. Every week we go through a chapter of ACTS, and verse by verse glean what is there for us to learn.
On Saturday morning we began with Acts 1:1
The first account I composed, Theophilus, about all that Jesus began to do and teach...
In all the versions we had the Biblical order appears first, to do; and second, and teach. We found this significant and a confirmation of what we have been trying to do for several years. It is more important to first DO something before trying to TEACH others. Doing comes before teaching. Wasn't that Jesus' way?
However, most of us come from an opposite teach-do approach to learning. We are first encouraged to attend conferences, read books, take notes, watch videos, and sit in classrooms where we are taught about a lost world, evangelism, discipleship, church planting, etc. After the instruction time is up, we learners are expected to go out and DO what we were taught. In our experience, 9 times out of 10 this doesn't work. Nine of the ten will never follow through on what they were taught.
Over the years we have tried very hard to implement a church planting "do-teach" methodology.
To learn how to swim, the best way is not by sitting through class lectures, or by watching instructional swim videos. The best way is get those wanting to learn how to swim into the water ASAP. Once in the water, panic sets in at realizing "I don't know how to swim!" After this initial panic experience they are more than ready for lesson #1: KICK, KICK, KICK!
Back in the water we go to practice our kicking. We model for them in the water how to kick. They watch us kick, and then we watch them kick. After a while, we get out of the water and talk about kicking. We might even assign a book on kicking, give a chat on kicking, or show a video. But now the experience of what is being taught will be much meaningful and practical.
The same holds true for those we hope will go out and plant churches. Church planting is not a classroom, conference, video watching activity. It is getting plantees out there with real people in the water. When they come back with real life questions, they are more than ready to be taught. But we teach to improve or build upon what the plantees are already doing.
In Luke 10 Jesus sends out the 70 with a few guiding instructions. As they obeyed and did what was commanded, Jesus was able to pray, "I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven...I praise you, Father...because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children..."
As we learn to first DO what Jesus said, we earn the right to TEACH others and have them listen to our message and instruction.