I was thinking about the life of Jesus the other day. Isaiah and I have been going through Rob Bell’s book, Velvet Elvis, with our lighting guys Thomas and Daniel over the last few months. We meet about every two weeks at Starbucks, talk, share life and discuss a chapter in the book. Reading through one of the chapters, it occurred to me that this is sort of what Jesus did.
Back in the day, Rabbis would start training kids around age 5-6. The students would begin learning the Torah and as they grew, would learn more and more of it, while also be heavily influenced by the Rabbi. As the students grew into their teen years, the Rabbis would select the best and brightest and bring them under their Yoke. As the students became disciples, they would not only learn the Torah backwards and forwards (most would have it memorized completely by the time they were 10-12!), they would start to become like the Rabbi.
Jesus followed this pattern, and called a group of 12 students to follow him. Because of all the art that (incorrectly) depicts the disciples as 40-year old white guys with long beards, we assume they were fully grown men. But the reality is that the disciples were most likely in their teens. He spent a ton of time with them, with the idea that they would learn to become more like him. It’s easy to knock on the disciples and their frequent and well documented failures, but they were trying. And Jesus was forever patient with them, continually nudging them closer and closer to the goal. Just a few years later, they started the church and changed the world. So I’d say He did OK with those boys.
Now here’s what got me thinking; if we’re supposed to becoming more and more like Jesus in our Christian life, it stands to reason that we should start doing more and more of the things Jesus did. A key part of His life was building into those 12 boys, and really pouring into 3 in particular. So, if that was the program of Jesus, what should we as Christ-followers also do? It seems to me we should be doing the same thing.
This is both an exciting and terrifying proposition. To wit; if we are spending time with our tech team, and they are becoming more and more like us, does that mean they are becoming more and more like Christ? Maybe we should back up a step—are you spending time with your tech team in an intentional way, with the goal being to help them become more like you? Of course, the ultimate goal is to become more like Jesus, which is the charge of all of us. But the way that typically gets worked out is by modeling our lives on someone who is further along in that journey than we are.
Now, I want to be clear on this; I’m not comparing myself to Jesus, as if I have this all figured out and am now the paradigm to emulate. However, I have been endeavoring to follow Christ for almost 25 years and I think God has shown himself to me a few times and that is something I’d like to pass on. And that’s all we’re talking about here, passing on what God has taught us to the next generation.
It’s been my experience that spiritual growth happens most effectively in relationship. So who are you in relationship with? And when I ask that, I’m asking both up and down the chain. In other words, who is building into you, and who are you building into? Just imagine what the church would be like if we each were building into someone 10 years younger than us, and we had someone 10 years older pouring into us?
Our job as TDs is as much about this process as it is anything technical. We can pull off technically flawless weekend services month after month, but if our team isn’t becoming more like us (which is to say, more like Jesus as we become more like Him), than I think we’re missing the point. So back to my original question, who are you building into?