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Quest Discipleship

I wrote this many years ago. Emma is still amazing, but her amazingness exhibits itself in other pursuits these days...

Emma is an amazing girl. In addition to being an all "A" student, she is a competitive gymnast (her team was 10th in the state this year), plays basketball, and excels at two musical instruments. Each spring, we celebrate her musical accomplishments by sitting through her recitals.

Last year, as I sat and listened to the other students, enduring the missed notes, dissonant chords, and choppy timing, I began to think about the nature of a recital. Students practice six months for this one performance, yet the reason their parents have put them into lessons has nothing to do with this recital or the lessons or all that practice. The reason for piano lessons is to learn a lifelong skill that will enrich one's life and the lives around them. Recital's are just a step along the way.

Typically a good teacher will choose recital songs that appear at first glance impossible. The student works through hours of frustration, figuring out new combinations of notes and sometimes awkward timing. Slowly, the piece begins to sound like music. Eventually, practice is more about finger muscle memory as the piece has been mastered and is now being memorized. Finally, the performance comes and all are made aware that the student has mastered a higher level of piano artistry, one that several months ago seemed out of reach.

What if we discipled this way? What if we, in our mentoring relationships, we set out goals that seemed impossible? What if we expected wrong notes and botched timing (failure) as part of the process? What if we celebrated spiritual accomplishments along the way? I think of this as "quest discipleship".

Quest discipleship might look something like this:
  • setting unrealistic goals
  • expecting failures
  • walking alongside, decreasing my input over time
  • celebrating the accomplishment of the goal with ceremonies
If you were to set a "quest" for your group, what might it look like? What goals could you set that seem completely unreachable? How will you celebrate when you reach those goals?

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