By Craig Etheredge
Not long ago I was in the Apple store working on my iPhone. A young lady was helping me—she probably looked to be in her early twenties. While she was working on my phone I starting talking to her about her job. I asked, “Have you been working here long?”
“No, not really. Just a few months,” she said.
“Do you like working here?”
Her face lit up, “Oh yes!”
Seeing her enthusiasm, I decided to inquire further. “Well, I bet it’s hard, learning all this stuff. You must have had to sit through hours and hours of training, right?”
She smiled. “Not really.”
I asked, “So how did you learn to do what you do?”
She said, “Well, I went online and saw there were job openings, so I registered for a two-day seminar hosted at a local hotel ball room. After two days, they placed me in a store and assigned me to a mentor. For the first few weeks I just wore regular clothes and the mentor wore the bright Apple shirt and lanyard. I just watched everything he did and took it all in. After dealing with a customer, he would ask me if I had questions or we would discuss that particular situation.”
By this time she had stopped working on my phone and was completely into this story, so I kept listening.
“Then,” she said, “after a while, I put on the Apple shirt and lanyard and my mentor dressed in regular clothes and he followed me around as I took care of customers. If I had a problem, he was ready to jump in and help. When he thought I was ready, he just set me free to go on my own. Now I’m prepared to do the same things with another trainee!” She smiled.
I did, too. Because what she described was disciple making, Jesus style. Jesus took in curious men, drew them to faith, let them shadow him for a season, and then he cut them loose to go on their own. When they were ready, he watched them reproduce into seventy-two more men. His plan was so simple and yet so profound. Jesus drew men to himself, let them follow him until they got it, and then he sent them out to reproduce.
When I look at the modern church, I’m grieved that somehow along the way we’ve missed the strategy of Jesus. Somehow we traded making disciples for making decisions. Somehow we traded a clear process with running programs. We stopped moving people through stages of maturity and started shuffling people between services. Somehow along the way we thought that if we got people to worship and in a group that they would figure it all out and become strong, when in fact, the church has become weak.
We’ve forgotten that the church exists to train up men and women who will take the gospel to their offices and neighborhoods and the world, and we started just trying to fill seats. What Jesus gave us was simple, reproducible, and powerful.
Apple gets it. Do you?
Written by Craig Etheredge. Used by permission from discipleship.org.
Craig is a gifted communicator, author, and Bible teacher. Craig and his family moved to Colleyville, Texas in July 2007 to serve as lead pastor of First Baptist Church where he currently serves. In addition to leading the local church, Craig is involved in the local community serving on the Board of Directors for Baylor Hospital, Grapevine, Board of Directors of Christian Counseling Associates, Mission Board SBTC, Chaplain for the Colleyville Police Department, and football chaplain for Birdville High School. He has a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Craig met his wife, Liz, in the fifth grade and they have two daughters, Leah Beth and Abbie.