Go At Your Own Pace
This week, I decided to try out a circuit training class at the gym that I had not been to in a few months. The main reason that I quit going was that I wasn’t enjoying it because of the instructor. Every time I went, the instructor would spend half of time pointing out what I was doing wrong, and the other half yelling at the group to keep pushing harder. This may have been a great approach when I was 17 on my high-school basketball team, but not so much at 40 in the YMCA gym.
I had heard through the gym grapevine that there was a new instructor and I should give it another shot. It was a completely different experience. He would push us to work hard, but he kept saying, “This is your workout. Go at your own pace!” He would also offer alternative ways to do an exercise that the old people (me) could do. Instead of focusing on not being able keep up with everyone else, I was locked into having the best workout that I was capable of having. It was enjoyable and I will probably go again.
I think we do this when it comes to spiritual growth in the church. We expect everyone to be able to handle whatever we give them, and then criticize and demotivate when they can’t keep up.
Discipleship is not a “one size fits all”. It takes extra work to provide alternative routes for different kinds of people. Not everyone is ready for an 8 week study on the doctrine of anthropocentrism. They may need to spend 10 weeks in Starting Point first, learning about the incredible story of the Bible. Or maybe their first spiritual step is getting their finances under control through a Financial Peace group.
Always remember that this is their spiritual growth plan and they need to go at their own pace. If they enjoy it, they may actually come back and want to know what’s next.