Going Deeper Without Making Clones

Pastor Patrick Badstibner is founder of World Prayr (on Twitter).  Pat has been providing us with a monthly blog post, but I’m pleased to be able to present this blog post, the second in a series of four weekly posts by Pat, to our Energion Publications family.

Check the World Prayr organization and the World Prayr devotional blog as well.  You’ll find a dynamic and growing group of Christians who are practicing the second great command, to love their neighbors as themselves, and thereby practicing the first command as well.

In the first part of this series we mentioned that we would be looking at three different sayings pastors today seem to be making. We also mentioned we would be visiting with my friends Dave and Paula. (Here is part one of this series again in case you missed it.)

Let’s pop in on Dave and Paula before we get to our next saying pastors seem to be making today.

Dave and Paula have decided they would like to improve the outlook of their home.  They decided they would invest $150,000 in exterior renovations.

So Paula says “I saw a truck that said ‘Cheapest price in town.’”

David goes “Hey! We might not have to spend $150,000 to get what we want.”

To which Paula replies, “After all, David, how deep can one get putting a few plants in the ground, or laying a few bricks?”

To which Dave replies, “You’re right Paula what does it really mean to be a matured landscape designer and architect?”

Paula remarks, “You’re right Dave, I think those that say you need to hire someone who has gone deep in the study of landscape design, architecture, and horticulture are just looking for what they think looks good. I think we will do just fine by hiring the ‘cheapest price in town.’”

So my friends Dave and Paula hire the “cheapest price in town” and they go out of town while their job is being done.  When they return, their eye is immediately caught as they find no access to their garage.

When they turn to the “cheapest price in town,” they ask, “Where is our driveway?” The cheapest price in town replies, “We placed it in the back yard. It was so much cheaper, while we put the patio in the front yard.  Wait till you see how much money we saved you! Don’t you just love your new patio?”

You know there is a Moral to this story:

In any area of life we need to always remember there is always the need to go deeper.

Funny Thing

For those who read part one can you guess what is coming next.

You got it! Another quote that is popular among pastors today.

When someone asks me to go deeper in the word, I ask them ‘what does deep look like?’  Funny, I have never had anyone answer. I find usually what they mean is they want me to preach how they feel I should preach.”

As with each of these statements; there is an element of truth.  There is in this as well. This statement is very true in one aspect; usually that is what is meant. The issue is this is sometimes also being used to defend shallow preaching and teaching, and catering to the “unchurched.”

Does The Word of God touch on this subject?

However, if I were to stumble on this conversation with this pastor, I would simply reply “I don’t think I need to, I think the word of God has already defined:

  1. That we need to go deeper as believers.
  2. That there is a deeper level

In taking in account that each individual is responsible for one’s spiritual growth; what might scripture say here?

  1. Scripture makes it very clear that there is a deeper level.  We see this in Hebrews 5:11-14, when it says “at the time that you ought to be teaching; you have the need to be taught again.” So we see a clear distinction here between the levels of student versus teacher.
  2. Then in Hebrews 6:1-3 we see what the author refers to as basic tenets of the faith.  We see the author urging his readers to not make him cover these things again.
  3. In 1 Peter 3:15, we see Peter encouraging his readers to have an answer for every man that asks of the hope that is in them.
  4. We see Paul in 2 Timothy 2:15 instructing Timothy to become a craftsman that doesn’t need to be ashamed.
  5. *So while much of this could be interpreted as personal responsibility. There is one last point that I believe speaks the loudest to the need of pastors guiding their sheep deeper.
  6. Paul repeatedly stresses over and over, like he does here in Philippians 2:13-16 that he labors for those in Christ.  What is he laboring for that they may be blameless and pure?
  7. Paul prays in Philippians 1:9 that those in the church of Philippi would grow in understanding, and in knowledge, and in depth of insight.
  8. Here is another one pastors Hebrews 13:17 in which the writer of Hebrews is instructing his readers to not make it hard for labor for them. Labor for who?

So, I believe that we can see here that the Word of God is clear on going deeper.

It is both the responsibility of the individual to go deeper and of pastors and ministry leaders to encourage, push. pull, and motivate those God has put under their watch to go deeper.

Are you challenging yourself first and the others second to go deeper or do you hold back, as these pastors today would like to point out that you are just looking to make clones?

Do you encourage your pastor to go deeper, do you challenge and hold those who you are accountable to to challenge you further in God’s word. Do you feel we should even challenge those who teach us to move deeper and when we do what we are actually looking at.

Still missing the point, still not getting it, then stay tuned because I promise in the final part of this series all will become clear.

The third post in this series:

Unmilitary people are not asking what methods, techniques are you using in basic training.

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