Over the last few weeks I have had the opportunity to speak at two conferences and work with several other churches. Along with that, I have been on a personal journey studying the finer details of Jesus’ intentional actions he modeled for the disciples. Several conversations over the last month led to analogies of hunting and fishing (I know, big surprise). One analogy I used several times was in regards to teaching someone to fly fish.
You cannot simply hand someone a book on fly fishing and expect them to know how. They have to get out on the water, feel the rod, practice the motions and most of all learn to read the water. I watched closely my friend Luke. He is an outstanding fly fisherman. I would mimic his motions and practice for hours on the water before I began to have any consistent success. He would demonstrate the smaller nuances and correct my poor form. He modeled for me how to fly fish.
The Christian life is so similar. The more time I spent teaching on discipleship and studying it for myself the a concept rises to the surface…“to imitate.”
Several weeks ago my 11-year-old son, Grady, came to me a few hours before our small group started at our house. The dialogue went something like this:
“Dad, I want to lead the kids at our group in a Bible lesson. I was thinking of going through a story from the Bible with them. Can you help me with the questions?”
“Sure Grady, what story are you going to tell?” I said.
“I want to tell the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. You know, the fiery furnace story.” He began to tell me the story as if I had never heard it. I laughed, and tears of joy mixed with pride in my eyes. I helped him formulate a few questions for the kids that would attend group. He was excited and ready to lead his first small group.
Later that evening while I led our adults through a Bible study I could hear my 11-year-old son leading the kids through Scripture from our upstairs bonus room. He was imitating what he had seen his dad do many times with our family and other small groups. He was teaching the Word of God using storying as a method and challenging other kids to apply truth. Based on the noises coming from the room though, I missed some of the story when I taught it to him. Apparently the fiery furnace made some very loud explosion noises. I missed that part in Scripture I guess.
Discipling other kids came out because he was imitating. Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 1:6,
“You became imitators of us and of the Lord.”
To be disciples of Jesus and to effectively make disciples, we must be great imitators. Like learning to fly fish, we must imitate someone that knows how. There is no one greater that we must imitate than Jesus Christ. He is truly our model.