When you see the letters T.O. you might be thinking of Turn Over, or Tasty Omelet, or the first two letters in your favorite breakfast food... yes TOast, but most everyone knows T.O. who plays for the Dallas Cowboys. He is a hot tempered, charismatic, loose cannon of a football player but is also a serious play maker. T.O. or Terrell Owens used to play for the Philadelphia Eagles lost his cool too many times for Donovan McNabb to keep throwing him the ball. Last year he starting playing with the Cowboys and has since found his groove with QB Tony Romo. Romo and Owens connect so well T.O. has been known to run another route than what Romo called for. T.O. just knows that they will connect for the majority of the time because they play so well together and have a chemistry together that every coach would love to see in their players.
I thought this was interesting on Sunday when I heard this because of the translation it makes into church world. There are those that you lead, disciple, serve, or take part in helping develop and need you to know them so well that you might be able to step outside of the normal route in order to make a better play in terms of their development.
There is a book I am excited to read by Dennis McCallum from Xenos Christian Fellowship called 'Organic Disciple-Making'. I heard him speak about it at a conference I went to this summer. McCallum advocates an organic approach to discipleship that involves a unique method towards an individual spiritual development. He likens it to building a fire. He said that he's been camping with enough city boys to know that not all men know how to build a good fire.
He speaks of the tinder as a initial concern for a nonbeliever and the light to your presentation to that person about their need for repentance. The logs put on after the fire is lit represent your prayers over that person you are teaching. It is common and God ordained that we agonize over these people in prayer asking that God give us clear marching orders as to know when to throw on the next log to keep the fire going.
It is tempting at times as disciplers to want to throw accelerant on the fire if it isn't growing like it should. This seems to be a quick fix but you get what you pay for in the long run by using this approach. It is better to watch the fire and if it is growing all by itself at a normal rate than that person will respond positively to the next level but we have to be patient with those that aren't as fast at comprehending biblical truth. This requires much prayer and leaning on the Spirit of God to show us what is the best approach for these kinds of situations.
I believe that most people don't train others in the faith or share their faith at all for that matter because paying close attention to someone's development takes time but it is well worth it to see a new believer serving, loving, and living like Jesus because that is what God wants rather than what the person who is teaching them wants.
There might be an approach or program that your church favors in order to grow people but we must know that as much as people are unique so must the method be that is used to grow them.