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Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. – James 1:19
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. – Ephesians 4:29
I am talking about the person who loves Christ and people (Matthew 22:36-40) so much that they can’t help but bring an appropriate “biblical word” to others. These are “gospel-empowered” people who are always looking for an opportunity to be Jesus to another individual.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. – Philippians 2:3-4
These people esteem others more than themselves, which motivates them to overcome whatever fears that keep them from experiencing God by engaging others (Matthew 25:44-45).
Some folks will say, “I’m not a talker.” I’m was one of those folks. But I had to learn (repent) that if I do not talk or do not engage the community, I cannot imitate the “intrusive, communicative aspect of the gospel” in my life, or help others effectively. In short, I would not be a good discipler.
Illustration: I used to play the “beached whale game” with my children, which was a way to “entertain” them while I slept on the couch on my day off from work. It’s also called “passive parenting.”
I had to repent by stop hiding behind this “God made me passive” mask. God came to change me from “who I am” so I could be something different. Read: Christ.
Illustration: I broke up with Lucia while dating because being around her was a challenge: she was a social person who loved engaging others. Rather than repenting, I chose to break up with her. Sigh!
Illustration: After marriage, I told her that she would have to be in charge of our “social calendar,” because if I were in charge of it, we would never go anywhere. I also said that our social gatherings would not be pleasant initially because I don’t enjoy socializing. The Lord did change me in time.
Appropriate initiative in communication is an aspect of the gospel. The gospel initiates. It’s intrusive. It’s always seeking how to penetrate lives. This kind of intentionality is one of the core things that I look for in our students.
The student who inserts himself (herself) and resists the temptation to sit back in their passivity is the student that will flourish in our program. I’m talking about biblical communication, not the person who lacks self-control in that they do not know how to tame their tongue.
But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. – James 3:8
There is another kind of self-control when a student resists the temptation to be silent.
Passive people don’t make the best disciplers. They can disciple for sure, but they are not maximizing all the grace that the Lord has for them. They make excuses for their lack of engagement by saying things like, “I’m not a talker.”
I’ve never met a non-talker who did not enjoy talking about something. A person impassioned for Christ and loves people will resist the temptation to keep quiet about Christ because they want to help people.
The best disciplers are always leaning forward, looking to engage the community. It’s the person who is “all in” with the counselee. He’s thinking, reflecting, and ready to speak into this person’s life. He “can’t help himself” from getting involved.
The love of God could not keep Christ from injecting Himself into our mess, and good disciplers always want to insert themselves. These types are real leaders. The rest are followers.
I’m not saying you can’t disciple if you’re not “putting yourself out there,” but no question being the type of person that I’m describing is a distinct leadership gift for good disciplers.
You’ll see this lack of engagement in small group meetings. The leader will ask a question, and the group will look down into their Bibles or their notes. It’s a weird passivity for a group of people who claim to have the most important message in the world.
Note to Our Students: The talking and engaging student will learn the most. They will make the most mistakes, but who cares? In the end, they will learn the most. The quiet student remains in control, but that is selfish and self-limiting. They won’t grow because they won’t risk anything.
Rick Thomas leads a training network for Christians to assist them in becoming more effective soul care providers. RickThomas.Net reaches people around the world through consulting, training, podcasting, writing, counseling, and speaking.
In 1990 he earned a BA in Theology, and in 1991 he received a BS in Education. In 1993 he was ordained into Christian ministry, and in 2000 he graduated with an MA in Counseling from The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, CA. In 2006 he was recognized as a Fellow of the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC).