Thursday, May 18, 2017

Using the 4Ls, Part 16 – How the Ls Help Me Learn (Summary)

I have stated a few times in the previous posts that my Strategy (LEARN) cannot be broken into pieces as easily as I seem to have written about each aspect. While each letter has its own meaning and purpose, if I focus on the A (Act) without the L (Love), then I am not truly E (Exercising) discipline and will be unable to N (Nurture) in a way that I may have R (Read) to be helpful or necessary. (That was a strange sentence!)

My point is that each of the five elements (L-E-A-R-N) that constitute my Strategy must all work together if I am truly to accomplish my goals (Mission). To over-focus on any one aspect will cause complications. For instance, if I only focus on Nurturing others, then eventually I will have nothing else to give because I am not building myself along the way (i.e. Exercise, Read) – like a battery that is never recharged. But if I only Exercise or Read for my own purposes (i.e. not Act, Nurture), then I will be like a rechargeable battery that is never unplugged from a power source and eventually corrodes from a lack of use.

The last several posts have covered how each element of my Strategy is aided by the 4L Model of Discipleship. Each of the Ls contributes to each element individually, but the true benefit is when each L and each portion of my Strategy are reviewed over time to see how they blend together to help me grow personally, but also to serve others which fulfills my Mission. Let me provide an example.

Last year, I took my first trip to Kenya (of many, Lord willing). The Lord laid Kenya on my heart many years ago, but due to a variety of reasons (some valid, some just excuses), I had not gone. Thus, I had taken some time to LEARN about Kenya over the past 15 years or so. I had come to Love some of what I knew. I had to Exercise discipline (spiritual, financial, and physical) to go. I had to Act to actually make it there. I Read to prepare myself, and while I was there I Nurtured pastors (primarily) through training. In doing so, I made progress in fulfilling my Mission statement on which I will begin to focus next week. But, for now, let me apply the Steps to the trip.

Learn – I went with a team whose leader (Scott) had been a few times previously. I was “along for the ride” so to speak. I had my responsibilities when we arrived at our destination, but for the first day or so I felt like I was completely at the mercy of our leader because I did not know where to go, what to do, etc. On the other hand, when we arrived at our final destination, many people came up to Scott and greeted him warmly because of his return. I trusted that the proper preparations were made (lodging, food, etc.) – and they were. I learned a great deal on the trip – about logistics, about the people, and about myself. But I had to learn as we went along.

Live – On our first day of training, I watched as Scott began to train the pastors. We had been asked to teach some specific content and Scott trained for 1 1/2 days, I trained for another 1 1/2 days, and we team-taught for part of a fourth day. When we were not training, we took turns going with the rest of our team to share Bible stores in the bush (desert). Thus, for me, the primary objective was to teach (pastors) and share stories with the people of the desert. I did that. That is the step of Live – to do what is asked or, in a biblical sense, commanded. In a most literal way, I was making disciples of a nation by going, baptizing (we baptized several while there), and teaching them to observe the words of Jesus (Matthew 28.19-20). But, to do (Live) needs to move to care (Love) or else it is just going through the motions.

Love – This past week, Scott reminded me of when the “love” portion began for me. It was our second morning in Kenya and our first training pastors. Scott began the day training and after observing him while watching the response and attentiveness of the pastors in the room (about 35), I told him, “I am coming back.” Over the course of the rest of the week, I developed three very close friendships (we still communicate very regularly) and established good connections with many who were there for the training. I also connected with a pastor in the bush who had a need that our church was able to meet after I returned. Not a day goes by that I do not think about my brothers and sisters in Kenya and I eagerly await my chance to return there early next year. Why? Because I Love what I do (teach), and who I am teaching, and for Whom I do it.

Lead – Having been to Kenya now, and desiring to go back, I am now preparing to lead my own team. Currently, I have 4 or 5 others who will be joining me early next year. Scott is leading another team a few months prior, so now we are able to expand our ministry opportunities. It will be different to go without Scott and the others that went last year (the rest of that group and a couple of others are going back together), but the timing did not work for me. Plus, it is my turn to lead. I hope to lead as effectively as Scott did. The process may not be as smooth since this is only my second trip, but a few years ago, he led a team there without any experience in Kenya. And leading others is what we, as Christ followers, are to do. We learn from others, so that we can lead others. That is the essence of discipleship. Thus, now that I have learned and lived a little, and started to love a great deal, I must lead others to do the same.

(I will soon announce a different way in which I will Lead which developed from my time in Kenya. This announcement will likely be in line with a new blog as well.)

Thus, to move back to my Strategy, I will need to focus on each aspect of L-E-A-R-N while collectively processing the aspects as well to prepare the team to go in 2018. As I do, I will take another step towards fulfilling my Mission in serving God as He has not only called me to do, but in a way that He has designed me as well.

Next week, I will begin to share how my Mission Statement relates to this entire process, specifically relating it to each Step of the 4L Model of Discipleship.

Prior Posts:
4L – Matthew 4.19 –
4L – Matthew 28.19 –
4L – Spiral –
4L – Vision –
4L – Mission –
4L – Strategy –
4L – Steps –
4L – Learn –
4L – Live –
4L – Love –
4L – Lead –
4L – BackUptheSpiral –
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Love) –
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Exercise) –
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Action) –
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Read) –
4L – HelpMeLEARN (Nurture) –

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