Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Importance of Process

by Rev. James Wong

We continue our discipleship series this week (after a few weeks of break) and our focus is on Christ’s training phases.

I still remember in my younger days I was given the job of making cake. There was a process to it. I had to beat the butter and sugar with a bamboo made beater until they mix well. Then eggs were added and the process continued. Finally flour and coloring were added to it. This time I was only allowed to mix the ingredients in a slow cyclical movement and never to beat them otherwise the cake will not rise. Why not put all the ingredients in and mix them all at one time? The cake will turn out to be a piece of hard rock! The lesson is this: There is a process I must follow to make a proper cake. The process determines the result.

In discipleship making there are two methods of learning; Non-sequential learning and sequential learning. Non-sequential or random learning works best when a person needs to understand a concept. The Apostle John uses this approach in the Book of John. He wants to prove the concept that Jesus is the Messiah. So he went on to prove that (1) Jesus is the Lamb of God. (2) Jesus is the Bread of Life (3) Jesus is the Light of the World (4) Jesus is the Good Shepherd (5) Jesus is the True Vine.

In Sequential learning, it helps a person to accomplish a process, or to understand a concept in logical points built on one another. For example in learning a language, we learn first the words, then phrases, then grammar, the sentences and then to write essays. It is impossible to change the order of this and successfully learn a language. Similarly, sequential learning is indispensable in science, farming, engineering, sports, construction and in almost every area of life, including our growth as a Christian.

Bill Hull has written a book Jesus Christ Disciplemaker and it provides the most complete description of Jesus’ sequential training process. He noted that there were four distinct phases and he calls these phases the:

1. “Come and See” phase
2. “Follow Me” phase
3. “Be with Me” phase
4. “Remain in Me” phase

Understanding these phases will also help us to understand the stages of our spiritual journey with Christ. The sermon will help you to understand the different phases and also deal with their distinctive features. May you move towards the “Remain in Me” phase.

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