An Introduction to Discipleship at EMI
Discipleship Design Guide
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Discipleship Design Guide An Introduction to Discipleship at EMI
Discipleship Design Guide An Introduction to Discipleship at EMI ©2016 Engineering Ministries International (EMI) Revised 1st Edition, 2018 emiworld.org Unless otherwise noted, Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Contributors: Hope Aparo, HR Manager (EMI Uganda) John Dallmann, CEO/President of EMI (EMI Global) Graham Frank, Director of Development (EMI USA) Dan Kane, Project Leader (EMI USA) Gary MacPhee, Director of Recruitment (EMI USA) Keziah M., Staff Architect (EMI India) Brittany Meloni, Intern Manager (EMI USA) Molly Harris, Intern Program Manager (EMI Global) Jenny Pillar, Staff Sustainability & Development Manager (EMI Nicaragua) Jason Reinhardt, Director of Finance and Administration (EMI Global) Photo Credits: Cover & inside cover photo by Christine Christophersen Ligy Abraham, p. 34, 60 | Danielle Adams, p. 83 | Rex Barber, p. 22 Matthew Coffey, p. 76 | Anne Herron, p. 9 | Jenni Keiter, p. 53, 94 Andy K., p. 5 | Shanan Lau, p. 58 | Mary McLeod, p. 54 | Erin Means, p. 28 Alexander Mooney, p. 21, 84 | Anna Seeley, p. 6, 90 | Jaimee Sekanjako, p. 18 Rene Siu, p. 40 | Brandon Swab, p.70 | Greg Young, p. 46
Discipleship Growth Areas
Working with Groups
Engaging with Spiritual Formation 21
Session 1: Engaging with the True Gospel
Session 2: Engaging with God through His Word
Session 3: Engaging with God through Prayer
Session 4: Engaging with God through Worship
Session 5: Engaging with God in Different Cultures and Contexts
Growing in Disciple-Making
Session 6: Growing in the Body of Christ
Session 7: Growing in Understanding of the Great Commission
Session 8: Growing Across Cultures
Session 9: Growing in Compassion for God’s People
Session 10: Growing in Compassion for God’s World
Leading & Influencing Those Around You 83
Session 11: Leading in the Local Church
Session 12: Leading in the Community
Session 13: Leading in the Design and Construction Professions
Introduction â€˜Discipleshipâ€™ is such a big topic that few people have even attempted to define it. Here at EMI we consider discipleship to be the life-long journey of learning of and from God, seeking to become more like him and to reflect his heart to those around us. It is both intentional and relational. We also believe that as design and construction professionals we have a unique opportunity to influence our profession and the wider world for Christ, and thus our discipleship material intentionally aims to sit in the gap between our spiritual and professional worlds. Wherever possible, material produced by EMI will invest in both the spiritual and the practical. Discipleship is one of our Core Values and as such we expect all of our members to be actively engaged in discipleship, both as disciples themselves, and in leading others in discipleship. The following material is intended to be used as a standalone programme introducing the basics of discipleship
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within EMI, but there are also further resources available for each topic in our ‘live’ Going Deeper material. We recommend that all new staff complete this material upon joining EMI, before moving on to other materials. Discipleship is not a textbook exercise. This material aims to acknowledge the different ways in which we each engage with God and with each other. It is not the be-all-and-end-all of relating to Jesus – far from it. Instead, this material acts as a flexible road map for creating a discipling culture within EMI. We recommend that each member spends around 1.5 hours of their working week investing in discipleship, either in community as an office, individually, or in one-to-one mentoring relationships. We recommend that those who are mentoring others spend around 1.5 - 2.5 hours in addition to the time they spend on their own discipleship. This material by itself will not make disciples, but hopefully it will be a catalyst for discussion, reflection, prayer, and action, in which all of us become more like Christ.
8 | Discipleship Growth Areas
Discipleship Growth Areas It is important to understand where EMI is heading and how we hope to get there. Below are our Vision, Mission, and Core Value statements:
EMI’s Vision: People restored by God and the world restored through design
EMI’s Mission: To develop people, design structures, and construct facilities which serve communities and the Church
EMI’s Core Values: EMI revolves around the person of Jesus and serves the global Church to glorify God through: • Design: EMI works within the local context to design and construct culturallyappropriate facilities that are sustainable, affordable, and transformational • Discipleship: EMI develops people spiritually and professionally through intentional discipleship and mentoring • Diversity: EMI builds the Church by connecting people of diverse backgrounds, abilities and ethnicities to demonstrate our love for God, our love for the nations and the unity we share in Christ Our second Core Value is discipleship and intentionally engaging in the spiritual and professional growth of our staff, interns and volunteers. We have three key areas within which our discipleship is focused, and around which this material is based. Our hope is that each member of EMI will see growth in the following three key areas.
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Spiritual Formation We want EMI Staff to have a strong foundation of scripture knowledge, prayer and worship, as well as confidence in their identity in Christ, both as individuals and as a body of believers.
Evangelism and Disciple-Making We want EMI Staff to seek out the image of God in all people and understand His heart for creation. They should understand the Great Commission and what it means to â€˜make disciplesâ€™ of others and put this into practice, both in their own culture and across cultures.
Leadership We want EMI Staff to be leaders in their local churches, leaders in their communities, and leaders in their professions.
10 | Mentoring
Mentoring Mentoring is the process by which an older or more experienced person trains a younger or more inexperienced person. For us, the ultimate example of a mentor was Jesus Himself. The New Testament uses the word mathetes to describe Jesus’ disciples – literally this means ‘learners.’ Jesus had plenty of opportunities to teach great crowds of people about the Kingdom of God, and He did so. But He also intentionally selected a small group of people to be His ‘learners.’ They didn’t just learn about the Kingdom of God in an academic sort of way, they became immersed within it. Their understanding of prayer, worship, fasting, healing and more went far beyond being told that these were things they should do in order to have relationship with God. Instead they lived side by side with Jesus, watching Him pray, watching Him fast, and watching Him heal. Then they were challenged by Him to go out and do the same. Jesus did not merely tell them what to do and expect them to get on with it, they watched Him do it Himself, and then they copied what they had seen. Discipleship within EMI will never be successful if it remains a paper exercise. Many of our staff will grow and flourish by reading books and taking part in groups, and even by working through the material in this program. But there is no substitute for learning within relationship. As Jesus himself shows us, mentoring is a vital component in discipleship. Opening up our lives to others to allow them to share in our wisdom, and challenge us on things we have not yet mastered is at the heart of the mentoring relationship. Mentoring time can be used to work through particular discipleship material together, for example this program or material from ‘Going Deeper.’ Alternatively, you might want to share life stories, pray together, eat together, or go out into your local professional community to share the gospel. The key is not so much content, but relationship and intentionality. As a mentor you are investing in someone else’s journey of faith, giving them access to your life, and sharing your own wisdom and experience to help them go farther and deeper. Every member of staff within EMI, and any other family members who wish to take part, should have a spiritual mentor of the same sex, with whom they meet on a regular basis. Ideally, mentoring relationships are one-to-one
Discipleship Design Guide | 11 relationships between an older or more mature Christian and a younger â€˜mentee.â€™ However, there may be some contexts in which it works better for two or three people to meet together on an equal footing, for example in a very small or new office. While it is better to keep consistency within mentoring relationships, the realities of staff changes mean that mentoring relationships will need to be reviewed regularly to ensure that everyone has access to a mentor. New staff (or staff moving into an overseas context for the first time) may benefit from more regular meetings for the first few months. They should complete the EMI discipleship material before being asked to mentor someone else.
Top Tips for Mentoring: Who Initiates? There are no set rules on how a mentoring relationship begins, but several things are important to consider. First of all, the mentee should be attracted to the life, integrity and wisdom of his/her potential mentor. Secondly, the mentor should reciprocate that respect and appreciation for the mentee. More often than not the mentee will be the one to initiate the relationship by asking someone to mentor them. But it could be either way. Praying and asking God for wisdom and direction is the critical piece in a successful mentoring relationship. It is also important that everyone finds a mentor, so ultimately each office director will need to follow up to make sure this happens.
Be Clear About Purpose When you first meet, and then periodically, discuss what you each hope for within this relationship and agree to some ground rules together. For example, is the person hoping you will work through a book with them, or do they want someone to pray with? Are they going through a difficult situation they need to talk about, or do they just want to learn your story? Any of these would be reasonable, but making sure you have the same goals will help build productive discipleship.
12 | Mentoring
Set Clear Boundaries Decide together how much time you will spend together and how regularly. Prioritise this time, even if you have a busy schedule. Decide what your limits are in terms of confidentiality. You should have integrity and respect in not passing on things shared in private to other people, but a mentor is not a therapist. You would be wise to discuss under what circumstances you might share information.
Listen Attentively and Ask Open Questions People flourish when they feel heard. Meet in a place where you can avoid interruptions and make sure you are allowing the other person to say everything they want to say before sharing your own experience. Before offering advice, ask searching questions – the other person may well already have a solution of their own. ‘How’ and ‘what’ questions are often more productive than ‘why’ questions, or ones that have a yes or no answer.
Meet Regularly We recommend around 1.5 hours of work time per week for discipleship, which can be with an individual mentor. If you are mentoring others you can allow between 1 and 2.5 hours of work time per week for this over and above your own discipleship time if you need to. An hour of one-toone mentoring each week should be plenty, but you may want to meet for longer if there are more of you. Equally, a longer stretch once a month might work better. Make sure you set a time for your next meeting at the end of each session.
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Working with Groups Working with groups in a discipleship context is really an extension of mentoring. By nature, working with groups tends to be more structured than working in a one-to-one mentoring relationship, but that doesnâ€™t mean that they need to be dry or boring. Jesus chose a group of 12 in whom He invested his knowledge and shared His life, and this was certainly a dynamic group of people. As with mentoring, the key to successful discipleship groups is not so much content, as relationship and intentionality. How (or even whether) EMI staff meet as groups is entirely dependent on their context. In some circumstances it may be possible for every member of staff in the office to work through a particular program together as a group all at the same time, but in larger contexts this may be impractical. Some offices may choose to go through material in mentoring relationships and meet sporadically within groups for discussions. Others might have various discipleship groups that meet regularly to work through material, with mentoring relationships reserved for more private prayer and sharing. Groups could meet for prayer or outreach or to eat together. Groups can be single or mixed sex, although we recommend at least four people for a mixed sex group.
Top Tips for Working with Groups: Have a Clear Organisational Structure Groups can have one or more leaders, but it should clear who is doing what. Decide whether this group will have one leader who organises each meeting and leads each session, or whether the group will take it in turns to lead sessions. If members are taking it in turns to lead sessions, nominate a person to have administrative responsibility for the group (for example, booking meeting space, sending out communications).
14 | Working with Groups
Be Clear About Purpose When you first meet, and then periodically, discuss what you each hope for within this group and agree to some ground rules together. For example, is this group working through specific material and then finishing, or is this an ongoing group that covers different things?
Set Clear Boundaries Decide together how much time you will spend together and how regularly. Prioritise this time, even if you have a busy schedule. Decide what will happen if people miss a session. Also, decide what your limits are in terms of confidentiality. You should have integrity and respect in not passing on things shared within the group to other people. However, you would be wise to discuss under what circumstances you might share information.
Listen Attentively and Ask Open Questions People flourish when they feel heard. Meet in a place where you can avoid interruptions and make sure you are allowing other people to say everything they want to say before sharing your own experience. Before offering advice, ask searching questions – the other person may well already have a solution of their own. ‘How’ and ‘what’ questions are often more productive than ‘why’ questions, or ones that have a yes or no answer. If you are leading the group, try to make sure everyone is included and encourage quieter group members to share.
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Individual Discipleship As well as investing in the groups and individuals around Him, Jesus spent large portions of his time in places of solitude, communing with his father. While many people flourish in groups or one-to-one settings, we all sometimes need time to process and reflect on our own. At EMI, relationship is at the heart of the discipleship process, but some time and space is also available for private study and reflection. We recommend that the majority of discipleship time is spent in a relational context, whether that is in a group or with a mentor. However, there may be times or seasons when it is more appropriate to spend time alone. For example, a group might be working through a book study together in which there are lengthy chapters and each person could spend an hour reading by themselves during the week before having a group discussion. Another example would be someone deciding with a mentor that they are going to spend an hour a week in private prayer and reflection before meeting to pray together weekly.
Top Tips for Individual Discipleship: Be Accountable The key to engaging with individual discipleship is to do it on your own, but not in isolation. Decide with your mentor or group how much time you are going to spend on individual discipleship and how much time you are going to spend meeting together. Agree what you will spend your individual time doing and give your mentor or group permission to ask you about how you used your time and challenge you to go farther and deeper.
Set Clear Boundaries It can be more difficult to keep time free for discipleship if you are not meeting with another person. Block off time in your schedule and stick to it.
16 | Going Deeper
Going Deeper This material is designed to be an introduction to the basics of discipleship within EMI. It covers a wide range of topics, which we consider to be cornerstones of faith and mission in our professional context. Completing this material will give only a glimpse into God’s Kingdom, and is by no means exhaustive. Each of the sessions is an introduction to a wider topic that can be studied in greater depth in its own right. In fact, this material is something of a road map to places worth visiting. Going Deeper is an additional resource detailing further materials that are available for studying each topic in greater depth. On completion of this EMI Discipleship material, staff will continue by selecting a topic of interest and working through it either individually, with a mentor, or in a group. Most of the Going Deeper material can be covered in 6 to 18 weeks, thus covering all the EMI Discipleship topics in depth would take between 2 and 4 years. Going Deeper is a ‘live’ document, compiled by staff, for staff. Material in Going Deeper has been tried and tested by other staff members who have reviewed it and made recommendations for how best to use it. If you would like to recommend particular material that is relevant to one of the core topics, or even that has a wider scope, please get in touch with the EMI Discipleship Team.
Top Tips for Going Deeper: Reflect on What You Have Done When choosing new material, it is important to reflect on what has gone before. Were there particular areas of the EMI Discipleship material that were new that you would like to learn in more depth? Is there a particular format that works well for your context e.g. reading a book individually and meeting to discuss it, or going through Bible Study materials in a group?
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Make Sure You Have Time Check to see how long the material takes to complete and plan accordingly. You may need to factor in time that you will be away on a project or on holiday. Donâ€™t begin an 18-week study with someone who will only be with you for 10 weeks.
Invest in Areas Where You Can Grow There may be some areas where you have much deeper knowledge and understanding. Especially in group contexts, your wisdom will be of great benefit to others, and you may surprise yourself with how much more you can learn. However, it is also very important to identify areas where your knowledge and understanding of a topic is limited and invest in those.
18 | Interns
Interns This material has been designed to provide an introduction to discipleship within the context of the design profession, and thus it will be of benefit to both staff and interns. In particular, interns returning to secular contexts will profit from spending time thinking through some of the issues presented in this material. We want them to discover the ways in which we can honour God through our designs and our interactions with others. Offices using this material with interns can either use it with a group of interns, or by having interns go through it with their mentors. It may be necessary to shorten the course according to the amount of time interns are present. In order to keep key foundational sessions, we recommend combining or leaving out sessions eleven and twelve. Sessions three through five could also be combined if necessary. Thus a ten-week program for interns might look as follows:
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Session 1: Engaging with the True Gospel
Session 2: Engaging with God through His Word &
Session 3: Engaging with God through Prayer
Session 4: Engaging with God through Worship
Session 5: Engaging with God in Different Cultures and Contexts
Session 6: Growing in the Body of Christ
Session 7: Growing in Understanding of the Great Commission
Session 8: Growing Across Cultures
Session 9: Growing in Compassion for Godâ€™s People
Session 10: Growing in Compassion for Godâ€™s World
Session 13: Leading in the Design and Construction Professions
If interns are using the material over an even shorter time of eight weeks, we recommend using the ten week program, but leaving out Sessions 2, 3, and 6.
Engaging with Spiritual Formation
Session 1: Engaging with the True Gospel “…when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Ephesians 4:21-24 Over the next 13 sessions we will be looking at what it means to be a disciple of Christ. We will begin by looking at what the gospel actually is and what it means for our own identities before God. The New Testament contains two words that we translate as ‘gospel’ – the noun evangelion (good news) and the verb evangelizo (to announce good news). Historically they were used when someone brought a message
Discipleship Design Guide | 23 of victory or great joy. The early Christians adopted these words to refer to their message of great joy in Christ. But were they simply celebrating a ticket of salvation that allows us to escape the fires of hell and provides entrance into heaven? Or is it more than that? Let’s start by looking at what Jesus and the first century apostles said about the gospel. Jesus Himself said,
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them.” Matthew 5:17 This passage tells us about Jesus’ mission and how He relates to the Old Testament and the people of Israel. It clearly states that Jesus did not come to remove or abolish the Old Testament system, but rather to be the fulfilment of it. This idea of ‘fulfilling the Law’ means that Jesus and His teachings were to be understood as the consummation, completion, and resolution of the entire Old Testament Law and the Prophets. This is an amazing claim! The Pharisees and teachers of the law did not accept this ‘Messianic claim,’ nor the other teachings of Jesus and so they plotted to kill Him (Matthew 12:14). Thus we see that the gospel message that Jesus lived out is rooted solidly in the story of God’s chosen people, Israel. The Apostle Peter also defined his understanding of the gospel in his first sermon on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:14-41). He took his audience on a tour of the Old Testament and explained how Jesus’ death and resurrection were the fulfilment of these passages, as well as telling people what they should do to respond.
24 | Session 1: Engaging with the True Gospel Finally, the Apostle Paul also makes clear statements about the gospel in the Bible:
“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.” I Corinthians 15:3-8 Here Paul clearly articulates the main pieces of the gospel message. Notice that Paul is summarising what Jesus said in Matthew 5. By using the phrase ‘according to the Scriptures’ he too is showing that the gospel message is tied to the story and prophesies of the Old Testament and the story of the people of Israel. And he is claiming that these are fulfilled through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Furthermore, he emphasises that there were witnesses that testified to this and that it cannot be denied. In these verses and many others, we see that the gospel is much more than a plan for an individual to go to heaven when they die. Neither is it simply believing in Jesus and deciding to follow Him. Instead, understanding the gospel is about fully understanding the amazing and historical story of the Bible. This story began in Genesis with the experiences of Abraham and the people of Israel. The climax of this story and the consummation of God’s unfolding plan for His people is the Messiah Jesus Christ. He died for our sins, has risen to new life, and implores us to connect with the people of His Church.1 The salvation message is a very important part of the gospel, but the gospel is so much more than the plan of salvation. It is the plan and the purpose and the high point of all of history. It is God’s story, Israel’s story, Jesus’ story and our own personal stories colliding together with unfathomable power and surpassing every other story or passion we could ever have in our lives. And as a result it requires that we place Jesus in our lives as Messiah and Lord, Scot McKnight, The King Jesus Gospel: The Original Good News Revisited (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011).
Discipleship Design Guide | 25 and live our lives under His lordship and Kingdom rule. It means engaging with God in all aspects of our lives and allowing the Bible to shape us and form our story. The gospel is so much more than a ‘get to heaven free’ card – it is a truth that is all encompassing as we align our lives and story to Jesus’ story and His Kingdom. So what does that mean for us as followers of Christ at EMI? How do we align our lives with Jesus’ story and Kingdom in this way? As a first step, having embraced the fullness of the gospel, we must also embrace our own identities before God. Identity is often talked about in connection with both our significance (what gives us value) and our purpose (what we do). However, different cultures find significance and purpose in different things, and these are often not in line with Scripture.
The gospel is so much more than a ‘get to heaven free’ card.
For example, some American and European cultures ascribe significance and purpose to people according to the activities that they do or events that have occurred in their lives. Thus a person’s identity is bound up with their experiences, rather than in their actual intrinsic value as a person. In particular, as Christian design professionals, we can easily find our significance in what we do, rather than in who we are before God. We have a unique set of gifts and education that can be used to fulfill the call upon our lives to do good works and share the gospel. It can be all too easy to identify with the things we achieve (or don’t achieve) through our work and give ourselves, and others, value according to these things. The following Scriptures show that our value is God-given, and that our significance before God remains unchanging regardless of what we do.
26 | Session 1: Engaging with the True Gospel “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” John 1:12 “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1a “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,” Romans 8:1 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 Simply put, we are children of God who are part of the over-arching story of the whole of history. As the Apostle Paul describes it so beautifully in the book of Romans, “God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8)
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QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: • Read Acts 3:12-26, 4:8-12, 10:34-43 and 11:4-18. Why is our identity in Christ so important in our daily lives? Can you give an example of the difference your identity in Christ has made on your life?
• Read Acts 13:16-41, 14:15-17 and 17:22-31. How do you as a Christian engage with the culture around you without losing the gospel in your own life?
• Why is our identity in Christ so important in our daily lives? Can you give an example of the difference your identity in Christ has made on your life?
• How do you as a Christian engage with the culture around you without losing the gospel in your own life?
Session 2: Engaging with God through His Word “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” Colossians 2:8 The topic of the Bible is so vast and broad that it is virtually impossible to do it justice in a single session. Firstly, there is the overarching narrative of the Bible: The history of creation, the people of Israel, the prophets, the coming of the promised Messiah, the death and resurrection of Jesus, and the beginnings of the Church. In and of itself, that could be a lifetime’s study. But as well as telling histories, the Bible is also filled with moral guidance; it tells the story of the relationship between God and man; and it gives us a mandate for living in today’s world. There are numerous topics one could study as well as questions one might ask. How do we know that the Scriptures are true? Are they relevant to our lives today? Does it matter whether we know the Scriptures intimately?
Discipleship Design Guide | 29 As design professionals, it is perhaps helpful to think about God as the ultimate Designer. By giving us the Bible He has provided us with the plans, but we are responsible for actually building our own lives. There is a big picture, but there are also detailed instructions, often repeated in more than one way in different places. It is possible to make a pretty good attempt at the building just by looking at the big picture. This is especially true if other people around us have read the detailed instructions and can offer advice on what to do. But only ever looking at one plan and relying on others to do the work will never be a substitute for actually having looked at the details ourselves. Perhaps it is because we are in a hurry to get the building up as fast as possible, wanting to be seen to be keeping up with those around us. We don’t want to be digging foundations when everyone else is on the second floor already. So we cut corners and hope that no one will notice. Or perhaps we simply don’t see the benefit of spending the time going over the plans thoroughly and so we just plough on and refer to them only when there’s a problem. In all these cases, what we end up with might look about right, but there are bound to be structural weaknesses and there is unlikely to be any detailed craftsmanship. Equally, we can pick and choose which plans and instructions we want to follow or even add in new features of our own. There may be certain design features that we think we disagree with, and so we deliberately decide not to include them, or we replace them with something else. But a brick building that uses flour instead of mortar might seem viable, perhaps even exciting and cutting edge, but it won’t stand up in an earthquake.
30 | Session 2: Engaging with God through His Word The only way to guarantee that what we are building is actually what God intended in His design is to invest time in getting to know the plans, that is, getting to know the Bible! To have a thorough knowledge of the big picture, but also to look at each of the detailed instructions and to make sure that we understand why they are there and how to do them. We may need to ask for help from people who have been doing this longer than we have. They can explain how certain parts of the design go together and who can advise on the best way to do things. And of course, we can always go back to the Designer Himself and ask for wisdom, discernment, and guidance. The Bible itself has plenty to say about its own value. Here are just a few of the verses that show that the Bible is infallible, faultless, dependable, authoritative, complete, unchanging and totally sufficient.
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 20:30-31 “The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.” Psalm 19:7 “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” Joshua 1:8
Discipleship Design Guide | 31 Jesus answered, “It is written: ’Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any doubleedged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom and continues in it – not forgetting what they have heard but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.” James 1:22-25
Scriptures are valuable, and it is vitally important to get to know them ourselves.
Simply put, the Scriptures are valuable, and it is vitally important to get to know them ourselves. But how exactly do we do that? The simple answer is to set aside time to read the Bible, but the reality for many of us is that this is not as simple as it sounds. Should you do it by yourself, or in pairs, or in a group? What time of day should you do it? Should you have study notes? Should you start with a particular book or a theme? There are many different ways in which we engage with God, there are many different ways to read and study the Scriptures. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to how to do that. What is important is to find a way that helps you to engage with God and His word, and in which you are both challenged and encouraged. While there must be an element of discipline in your approach to the Scriptures, if what you are doing is really becoming a chore, think about trying a different way of studying.
32 | Session 2: Engaging with God through His Word
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: • How and when do you usually read the Bible? Is this something that works well, or does it need to change?
• How do you dwell on the scriptures as a family or individual? Does dwelling on the scriptures come easy for you? What strategies do you have to incorporate dwelling on the scriptures into your daily routine?
• What are the biggest struggles you have when it comes to studying and understanding the Bible?
• What do you think about the infallibility of Scripture?
• Are there parts of the Bible that you struggle with in your culture or context? Are there themes or books of the Bible that you need to study in more depth? How are you going to do this?
• If you would like to take this further, come up with a plan for reading the Bible over the next month. At the end of the month, share with a group, friend or mentor how it has gone and how you are going to continue.
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Session 3: Engaging with God through Prayer â€œDo not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.â€? Philippians 4:6-7 Having spent some time looking at how we engage with God through His Word, we move towards thinking about how we engage with God through the spiritual disciplines of prayer and worship. Each of these can take place individually and corporately. They are a key part of our identity as Christians, and form part of the DNA of EMI. Prayer is defined as a devout petition to God and/or a spiritual communion with God. It is our direct line of communication to God. As relational beings we understand that if we want to build relationships, we must talk and listen with others to build that relationship. While we inherently know this about relationships, we often
Discipleship Design Guide | 35 neglect this part of our relationship with God. Even when we do pray regularly, even passionately, we can sometimes lose perspective on the greater purpose of prayer, focusing on our own needs and desires, rather than on building relationship with our God. But what exactly is prayer, and what is its purpose? Firstly, prayer is a gift by which God allows us to communicate with Him, draw close to Him, and get to know Him better. Imagine finding an ant in your garden and attempting to build a relationship with it. A human being is so much more intelligent and complex than an ant. It would be virtually impossible to have any kind of mutual relationship in the way one ant might have with another ant or one person with another. So it is with us and God, and yet Jesus Himself bridges the gap between us, acting as our high priest and allowing us to enter God’s presence in prayer. We also have the Holy Spirit who “helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” (Romans 8:26). Prayer, then, is also reciprocal. Peter’s command to “cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7) shows that God responds to our prayers in love. Jesus Himself speaks of God’s answers to prayer in Matthew 7:7-8, saying “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Prayer is not only a way for us to draw close to God in a relational way. It is also a way for us to access God’s power and authority - particularly when we are praying for things beyond ourselves, for example healing. In his letter to the Ephesians Paul writes that,
36 | Session 3: Engaging with God through Prayer “Because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus,” Ephesians 2:4-6 In these verses, we see that our own status has been changed by the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus - we are now raised to life and seated in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus. As believers, we have the indwelling of the same spirit that raised Jesus Himself from death to life. The source of this same power resides within us at all times. Prayer, then, allows us to tap in to that same power on a moment-to-moment basis. This is why Paul urges us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). As we begin to accept the power of Christ that we hold, we will not see prayer as a dry exercise in which we tell God our problems. Instead, prayer becomes a vibrant, powerful tool for bringing God’s power and authority to work in the world.
As believers, we have the indwelling of the same spirit that raised Jesus Himself from death to life.
Jesus, the one who encompassed the fullness of this power, prayed because He understood that prayer allowed Him to access the power of God. We see Jesus praying on various occasions in scripture, and His prayers were clearly an inspiration to His disciples. “Teach us to pray,” they begged Him in Luke 11, the result of which was Jesus’ lesson on prayer that we now refer to as the Lord’s Prayer. By looking at Jesus’ own teaching about prayer in Luke 11:1-4 and Matthew 6:5-15 we can better equip ourselves to pray as He did. Firstly, Jesus aligns His heart appropriately to commune with the Father. “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.” He begins with adoration of the Father. He humbly submits to God the Father from the very start, and as we
Discipleship Design Guide | 37 approach our communion with God, we must humbly recognise our place before the Lord and honour Him for who He is. He immediately goes on to say, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” By stating this Jesus is saying that there is a heavenly purpose happening here on earth. He is acknowledging the purpose God has here on earth “to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” (Ephesians 1:10 ESV) He is also actively aligning His heart to be a part of that greater purpose. He is seeking God’s Kingdom and saying that He is willing to be a part of bringing that Kingdom to earth. Jesus then tells us to ask for the things that we need, “give us each day our daily bread,” reminding us that God is our provider. When we trust in Him, we need not worry about the present or the future. He then instructs us to pray for forgiveness, “forgive us our debts,” knowing that we all come in to God’s presence tainted by sin and needing to be cleaned. A simple act of confession allows us to once again be pure before our Creator. By adding “as we also have forgiven our debtors,” we are reminded again that our relationship with God is one that impacts on every sphere of our interactions with others and the world around us. Finally, He acknowledges that we are all fallen and struggle with the choices we face between doing right and wrong. He urges us to seek protection from evil, “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” In the same way as David does in the Psalms, we can pour out our affections, frustrations, and thoughts to God in prayer. By using the outline of the Lord’s Prayer we also acknowledge God’s character, power and authority, and our own position before Him. We can rightly align ourselves with Him and His purposes and tap into His awesome Kingdom power.
38 | Session 3: Engaging with God through Prayer
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: • Why should Christians pray?
• Are there different types of prayer?
• Do you struggle with prayer or does it come naturally to you?
• What sort of answers to prayer have you seen?
• Do you think different cultures pray differently? How does this affect your own prayer?
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Session 4: Engaging with God through Worship In this session we continue to explore how we engage with God in a broader sense, this time through the spiritual discipline of worship. Worship is also a key part of our Christian journey, and our discipleship at EMI. In Let the Nations be Glad, John Piper writes about the fact that mission is not the ultimate goal of the Church. The ultimate goal of the Church, he says, is worship. Mission exists because worship does not. Mission is a temporary necessity, but when this age is over and the redeemed fall on their faces before the throne of God, mission will be no more. Worship, however, will last forever.2 What does that mean for us as group of design professionals working in a missional context? How does this impact us, our work, and our service? How does it affect the way we express our worship? These are all questions we must ask ourselves, but first let us address the bigger questions. What exactly is worship? And how do we engage with God through worship? John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions (Ada: Baker Academic, 1993).
Discipleship Design Guide | 41 A common misconception among Christians today, is that worship is a specific activity that takes place on a Sunday morning. Churches have worship teams and worship leaders who help to draw the congregation into the presence of God through their music. Some people might set aside a time to worship during the week, when they will play or listen to ‘worship songs.’ However, worship is far more complex and dynamic than this. The fact that we often refer to praise and worship interchangeably, also makes it harder to understand exactly what it means to worship. By better differentiating between praise and worship, we can build a clearer image of what worship is, and how we can engage with God through worship. We are commanded to praise because it puts us in right relationship with God. However, God does not need our praise. All creation praises Him (Luke 19:3740, Psalm 148:3-12) and God is in no way diminished by a person’s failure or refusal to praise Him. However, what He seeks are worshippers. John 4:23 says, “a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” Notice that it is not worship itself that He seeks, but worshippers – people to be in relationship with Him who have the lifestyle and mind-set of a worshipper. Unlike praise, which can take place without real relationship, worship is intimate, it brings us closer to the heart of God, and it takes place within relationship. Praise is also generally something that is seen or heard, whereas worship is not always evident to an observer. There are times when it might be as visible and as evident as praise, but there are other times when it is quiet and unassuming. Only God can know when we are truly worshipping.
42 | Session 4: Engaging with God through Worship Worship, then, is an activity which brings us into deeper relationship and communion with God, for His glory. Fortunately, our ability to worship is not a talent with which we are born, nor is it a special gifting for a select few. Instead, it can be learned. “Blessed are those who have learned to acclaim you,” says Psalm 89:15. Worship is not learned by reading books, or taking classes, or attending seminars, though. It is developed over a lifetime of application and experience.
Worship, then, is an activity which brings us into deeper relationship and communion with God, for His glory.
How, then, do we engage with God through worship, particularly in our professional context? Jesus Himself gives us an answer to this is in John 4:23-24 (ESV), when He tells us that “the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” To worship, Jesus shows us, is not just something we do “in spirit” (for example, what we might experience through singing worship), but something we do “in truth.” That means that worship requires more than just spiritual engagement, it requires our minds and our bodies to be engaged as well. What does this look like? Firstly, to engage our minds in worship we need to immerse ourselves in the truth of God’s word, for “your word is truth.” (John 17:17). According to how we best engage with God through Scripture, that might mean thoughtful, contemplative meditation on the Bible, or prayerful proclamation with “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” (Eph. 5:19). We can only become true worshippers through diligent study of and reflection on His word. This is perhaps where music and song fit into the life of a worshipper, and why
Discipleship Design Guide | 43 it can be easy to confuse worship with worshipful music. Most praise and worship music is full of scripture or the testimony of others regarding the faithfulness, the sovereignty, or the love of God. Music is a creative tool that allows us to immerse our hearts and minds in truth. Even those who are not themselves singers or musicians can deepen their relationship with God through exaltations, intimacy, celebrations, proclamations, warfare, prophesy, and more that are expressed in worshipful music. However, music is only one of many ways in which we engage our minds with worshipping in truth. Prayer, intercession, thanksgiving, meditation, solitude, fasting, Sabbath, and community are all activities we use to engage our minds with God in worship. In the same way, in order to engage our bodies in worship we need to think about how our everyday work and interactions can be immersed in “truth.” In Romans 12:1 Paul urges us, “in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship.” This idea is found in the old English marriage ceremony, which contains the line, “With this ring, I thee wed, with my body, I thee worship.”3 In marriage, love, passion, and affection are so deep, and so vulnerable, that husband and wife offer each other their bodies for protection, honour, and service. In the same way, it is only when our bodies are used together with our souls and spirits that we accomplish anything at all. Like the married couple, as we offer our bodies in worship to God we are saying that everything we might accomplish in the physical realm we offer as worship. In particular, as we go about our work we aim to do so as worship. In the same way, Paul instructs the Colossians that, “Whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Col. 3:17). Our commitment to our work is itself an act of intimate devotional worship and as a consequence there are certain efforts that must follow. We have the option in our workplace to push worship beyond the boundaries of mere singing and adopt an attitude and a lifestyle of worship that permeates all aspects of what we do. We worship God when we strive for excellence in all that we produce. We worship God when we choose to bless and pray for our co-workers, especially those with whom we might disagree. We worship God when we carefully assess the validity of a project to ensure it will produce good
Church of England, Book of Common Prayer (Cambridge University Press, 1662. Standard Edition, 2004), 304.
44 | Session 4: Engaging with God through Worship and not harm in the developing world. We worship God when we punctually meet deadlines. In short, we worship God through our work when we align ourselves with His will and do our utmost to reflect His glory in the way we complete tasks and the way we treat those around us. As we engage with God through worship, we reach new levels of holiness and transformation. We cannot help changing in the presence of God, and worshipping Him inevitably changes and purifies us. Worship is necessary to maintain deep communion with God, and through it we become more and more like Him.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: • How does this description of worship illuminate or broaden your understanding of what it means to worship?
• What are some of the ways we as Christians can live daily in continued worship? In particular, think about your working life at EMI and how you can make everything you do worshipful.
• Think about a popular cultural icon. What are some ways people praise them and some ways in which people worship them? How can this example be applied to our worship of Jesus as we follow Him?
• Do you think different cultures worship differently? How does this affect the way you think about worship and live as a worshiper?
Session 5: Engaging with God in Different Cultures and Contexts We are all on a constant journey in our spiritual lives. At times we may have mountaintop experiences in which we feel vibrantly spiritually alive, close to God, and ready for anything. At others times we feel like we are in the wilderness, spiritually dead, far from God, and not knowing which way to turn. In between times, we may have a strict spiritual routine or it may be more relaxed. Some people read the Bible daily, pray with ease, and joyfully join in sung worship, but others may find it more of an effort to engage with these. This session aims to explore our relationship with God as individuals and within our cultural backgrounds. In his book Sacred Pathways, Gary Thomas identifies the following nine categories that can be used to describe our walk with God.4 Each of us will naturally be drawn towards particular ways of engaging with God.
Gary L. Thomas, Sacred Pathways â€“ Discover Your Soulâ€™s Path to God (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010).
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ACTIVIST As might be expected, the Activist responds to situations of injustice and wrongdoing by taking action. They feel close to God when they are championing a cause and are excited to be putting their faith into action and battling evil. The activist may find it difficult to relate to other temperaments that seem to them to be â€˜doing nothingâ€™ towards the advancement of the Kingdom.
ASCETIC Ascetics tend to have a vibrant inner life and value simplicity and silence. They feel close to God when they strip away earthly pleasures and distractions. The ascetic often feels closer to God during periods of hardship or endurance and is drawn towards fasting, self-denial and hard work as expressions of their love for God.
CAREGIVER The caregiver engages with God by meeting the practical needs of others. Caregivers are often found carrying out practical tasks, such as setting up meetings, washing up, and tidying, usually in the background. They can feel under-appreciated by others with different ways of engaging.
48 | Session 5: Engaging with God in Different CONTEMPLATIVE Contemplatives seek out and value intimacy with God, spending time soaking in His presence. They spend a great deal of time in reflection and are often deep thinkers. Many express themselves writing books, songs, or poems about God.
ENTHUSIAST Enthusiasts find spiritual vitality in worship and praise. The love to joyfully celebrate God and come into His presence with a sense of expectancy and abandon. Whether they are normally introverted or extroverted, enthusiasts worship with gusto and open affection for God and are comfortable expressing themselves in praise.
INTELLECTUAL Those with an intellectual temperament love to spend time studying Scripture and pondering God’s truth. They are likely to read widely, desiring to understand their faith, more than simply experience it. They use their minds to allow their hearts to engage with God and need continuous cognitive challenges. Sometimes intellectuals seem intimidating to those who engage differently.
NATURALIST Naturalists feel inspired and strengthened when they are outdoors. Being among God’s creation helps them to reflect on Him and His character and draws them into His presence. Observing details in nature touches their very souls.
SENSATE The sensate finds inspiration to engage with God through their senses – taste, touch, hearing, smell, sight. They are often inspired by man-made beauty, such as architecture, paintings, incense, classical music, or even watching a film.
Discipleship Design Guide | 49 TRADITIONALIST Throughout the Bible God encourages His people to remember; remembering the Sabbath, remembering the flight from Egypt, remembering Jesus in Communion. Traditionalists engage with God best when they are recreating familiar practices - remembering rituals and customs passed down through generations of worshippers.
Each of us will find that one of two (or more) of these describe the way we prefer to engage with God. It is important for all of us to spend time reflecting on how we prefer to engage with God and how this could impact our relationship with him. However, at EMI we also work across many nations, and many of us live or have lived in a culture or country that is not our own, or work with others who have come from other places and cultures. The diversity of EMI’s staff, interns and volunteers brings great richness, but it can also be difficult to engage with God and each other in and across different cultures. Each of us engages with God in unique ways, but there are also much broader ways in which whole societies engage with God. Understanding these, as well as our own preferences, will allow us to have a vibrant spiritual life wherever we are. In his book, The 3D Gospel: Ministry in Guilt, Shame and Fear Cultures, Jayson Georges examines the three different responses to human sin – guilt, shame, and fear, and suggests that these three responses can be used to understand different cultures. Georges categorises individualistic societies (e.g. in North America or Western Europe) as focused on ‘Guilt-Innocence;’ collectivist cultures (e.g. in Asia or Latin America) as focused on ‘ShameHonour;’ and animistic cultures (e.g. in Africa) as focused on ‘Fear-Power.’ Each culture’s orientation defines in large part how people behave and how they understand the gospel. In a ‘Guilt-Innocence’ culture, a person is respected according to how they behave as an individual and whether they follow society’s laws. As long as they behave according to the accepted moral and legal standards, individuals are encouraged to stand out from the crowd and define themselves by what
50 | Session 5: Engaging with God in Different separates them from the group. When someone needs something they will access it from an institution, for example a school or a hospital. Justice is a defining narrative for these cultures, and individuals who have sinned are considered guilty and must be punished, but through their punishment they can make restitution to remedy their negative action. Guilt causes a sinner to say, “I made a mistake.” In a ‘Guilt-Innocence’ culture, the gospel is understood in terms of God as a judge who can remove guilt through forgiveness. In a ‘Shame-Honour’ culture, a person is respected according to how they function within a group and whether they have value in the eyes of the whole community. A person’s age, gender, and position in the group defines their role and how they are expected to behave. When someone needs something they access it according to relationship (for example, a doctor recommended by an elder, or a teacher who is a relative). Saving face is a defining narrative for these cultures, and individuals who have sinned bring shame not just on themselves, but on the whole group. Shame brings a sense of humiliation and inadequacy that causes a sinner to say, “I am a mistake.” Forgiveness alone is not enough to remove shame. Shame can be removed when a person with higher status publicly restores honour to the shamed person. In a ‘ShameHonour culture, the gospel is understood in terms of God as a man of honour who can restore honour and offers resurrection glory to the shamed. In a ‘Fear-Power’ culture a person is respected according to whether the invisible spiritual forces have blessed them. In order to be successful in the visible world, people must please and appease the forces that exist in the spiritual realm and thus they often live in fear of upsetting the forces of evil. When someone needs something, they access it by manipulating the spirit world. In order to do this, people might do things like consulting a witchdoctor, wearing a special amulet, making sacrifices to their ancestors or reading their horoscope. Warding off evil is a defining narrative for these cultures, and individuals who have sinned have done something wrong before the spirits and thereby invite harm from the unseen spirit world. Fear can be removed by spiritual empowerment. Some might attempt to do this by voluntarily inviting dark spirits into their lives in exchange for protection. In a ‘Fear-Power’ culture, the gospel is understood in terms of God as an empowering Spirit who allows us to stand firm against the evil of Satan.5
Jayson Georges, The 3D Gospel: Ministry in Guilt, Shame and Fear Cultures (Time Press, 2017)
Discipleship Design Guide | 51 As we go about our work with EMI, whether that is in our offices or on site with our clients, we need to be aware of both our personal preferences for engaging with God and our cultural biases. Identifying these will not only open us up to a deeper relationship with God, but it will give us a greater appreciation of the diversity of the Kingdom of God and enable us to support those around us to pursue God too.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: • Reflect on the Sacred Pathways and the way you engage best with God. Do your primary methods of engaging with God match up with what you are doing at the moment? Is there anything you need to change?
• What sort of culture do you come from? What about those around you? How will this impact the way you interact with people and the way you share the gospel?
• What could you do to help yourself engage more with God? Is there anything you can do to help others around engage with God more? How is this affected by cultural context?
• Do you feel that you can engage with God in your work environment? Why or why not? What could be done differently to help you to engage with God at EMI?
Growing in DiscipleMaking
Session 6: Growing in the Body of Christ “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.” 1 Corinthians 12:12 As believers we are all part of the body of Christ. We are all different and we have different roles to play. In this way we make up the Church. But when was the last time you really stopped to think through what it meant to be a part of this body? How has God uniquely designed you and how does this design influence your role in the greater body? What does it mean for us at EMI to be part of the body of Christ? At EMI we often consider God’s workmanship and it is good to take the time to consider our cultures, personalities, strengths, gifts, and stories. We see each of these as a piece of our overall design and who God has made us to be. Understanding and appreciating each other’s uniqueness can help us to start to see the beauty of how God has made us different and the ways in which we can complement one another as we work together. Throughout Scripture we
Discipleship Design Guide | 55 see examples of different spiritual gifts, for example in Romans 12, 1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 4. Examples include exhortation, giving, leadership, showing mercy, prophecy, service, teaching, administration, being an apostle, discernment, faith, healing, performing miracles, speaking in tongues, wisdom, evangelism, and pastoring. It is clear from this list of gifts that there is significance to the variety of them and that God intended for there to be unique gifts among His people. We have each been given a specific set of gifts and, along with them, a specific role to play within the body of believers. If we did not have teachers, then the body would suffer because others would not learn and grow; if there was no one gifted with administration then we would struggle to find order. As Paul expresses in 1 Corinthians 12:15-20, just as with an actual body, every part has a unique role and must fulfil that role in order for the whole to function properly. If one part of the body fails to complete its designated job then the body as a whole suffers. Likewise, if one member of the body attempts to perform a job that it is not meant to perform it results in the body as a whole not functioning properly. When each member understands his/her own unique gifts and strives to fulfil the roles which they have been given, the body is able to function as intended and it thrives. Those who have discovered their spiritual gifts are able to live within their created role and purpose and will ultimately find more fulfilment. When we understand our gifts and find ways in which we can put them into action we experience new levels of satisfaction and joy â€“ embracing and becoming the people that God has created us to be. As people grow and prosper in their gifts they are better equipped to serve their fellow believers and consequently the body is improved.
56 | Session 6: Growing in the Body of Christ Pause a moment and imagine what it would look like if everyone purposefully and intentionally put their unique gifts to use in order to serve others. In Ephesians 4:11-12 Paul tells us that “Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” Our gifts exist so that we can equip other believers. As we each find ways to embrace our own gifts we not only find a deeper sense of fulfilment for ourselves, but we are also able to better encourage, support, and develop our brothers and sisters. As design professionals we must work together in a multi-disciplinary team in order to complete a project. While there may be light-hearted rivalry between the various design disciplines, we can all admit that the overall product of a finished design would not be possible without each of these disciplines completing their unique role. With every project that we take on it is crucial that we have the right members on the team to get all of the work done. A team of civil engineers might develop a fantastic plan for dealing with water and wastewater on a site. However, in spite of their best efforts, they would not be well equipped to offer the best solutions for site flow, masterplans, structural stability, or electricity. It is only with people acting in their own unique skills and discipline that the team is able to combine their knowledge and work together to complete a full design.
It is only with each person acting in their own unique skills and discipline that the team is able to combine their knowledge and work together to complete a full design.
So what does the body of Christ mean for us at EMI? How do we invest in our own and each other’s gifts in order to best serve the body of Christ in the context of our work?
Discipleship Design Guide | 57 Any environment in which people spend large amounts of time together is likely to have tensions, whether it is family, work, friendship, or ministry. As a multi-disciplinary, cross-cultural team at EMI we each bring different skills, perspectives and experience, and it would be easy for tensions to exist between people. To build up the body of Christ within our teams, whether in an office environment or with a team of project volunteers, we need to identify our gifts, skills, and talents and use them. But we also need to be aware of the gifts, skills, and talents of those around us and encourage them in what they are good at. It is only in recognising and encouraging others’ strengths, rather than their weaknesses, that we can truly work together and build the body of Christ and the Kingdom of God.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: • What does it mean for EMI to be part of the body of Christ?
• What are your spiritual gifts? How are you using them?
• Identify a spiritual gift that you feel you are not using. Think about practical ways to use it within your own family and ask God to multiply those efforts for the Body of Christ as a whole.
• Do you sometimes covet other peoples’ gifts from God and how they can contribute to the Body of Christ? Why? How can you be more content with the gifts God has given you?
• Reflecting on your current job role, do you think it is a good expression of your gifts, talents, and skills? Why/why not?
• What could you change to benefit the body of Christ within EMI?
Session 7: Growing in Understanding of the Great Commission As we have seen, the gospel is not just a ‘get to heaven free’ card, or even just an invitation to a more fulfilled life for ourselves. By responding to the gospel we become part of the over-arching narrative of history, the story of God interacting with His people and His plan to live in communion with humankind. Jesus Himself says, “Go and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), in other words “Go out and train everyone you meet.”6 This instruction is commonly referred to as the Great Commission, and our work at EMI is not just about design and construction, but about fulfilling this Great Commission. In his book, What’s Gone Wrong With The Harvest?, James F. Engel proposed the Engel Scale as a way of representing the spiritual journey an unbeliever can take to becoming spiritually mature. Every person falls somewhere on this
Eugene H. Peterson, The Message (Colorado Springs: NavPress,2002), Matthew 28:19.
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spectrum from “no knowledge of the Gospel” at a -8, to “new birth” at 0, to “ongoing growth and reproducing disciples” at +6.7 -8 Awareness of Supreme Being, no knowledge of Gospel -7 Initial awareness of Gospel -6 Awareness of fundamentals of Gospel -5 Grasp implications of Gospel -4 Positive attitude towards Gospel -3 Personal problem recognition -2 Decision to act -1 Repentance and faith in Christ 0 New birth +1 Post-decision evaluation +2 Incorporation into Body +3 Conceptual and behavioural growth +4 Communion with God +5 Stewardship +6 Ongoing growth and reproducing disciples
James F. Engel & Wilbert Norton, What’s Gone Wrong With the Harvest?: A Communication Strategy for the Church and World Evangelism (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975).
60 | Session 7: Growing in Understanding of the Great Commission By looking at those around us through the lens of the Engel Scale, we avoid the temptation to compartmentalise people into two distinct categories of ‘believers’ and ‘unbelievers.’ Instead, we recognise that each of us is on a spiritual journey. We begin to see that everyone - regardless of whether they would call themselves Christian or not - needs to be encouraged and trained in their walk towards God. As we grow in compassion for God’s people and seek to fulfil the Great Commission, our desire is not only to help people come to a saving knowledge of Christ, but also to strengthen their faith and obedience to Jesus. Imagine that everyone is trekking up a mountain through the jungle, trying to find their way. Jesus has already completed the trek and is calling people to follow Him up to the mountaintop. As Christians we are listening to Jesus’ voice and walking alongside other believers. But we are also on the lookout for those who cannot hear His voice yet so that we can invite them into our communities and point them towards Him. The Apostle Paul describes it this way: “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up” (Ephesians 4:11-12)
Our desire is not only to help people come to a saving knowledge of Christ, but also to strengthen their faith and obedience to Jesus.
At EMI we strive to express our worship and service to God through excellence in our work. However, it is clear that our obedience to Jesus isn’t limited to doing our profession well, but also includes reaching out to people and meeting their spiritual needs. Our personal and professional lives will often present opportunities to interact and engage with people who may find themselves at various points on the Engel Scale. While our particular context
Discipleship Design Guide | 61 often involves working with other believers, we may find ourselves interacting with people like end-users or contractors who have little or no knowledge of the gospel. We have a unique opportunity to demonstrate the love of God and invite them to listen to Jesus’ voice on the trek through the jungle of life. Paul’s words to the Ephesians speak specifically to equipping other believers. But when we stop compartmentalising and begin to see that everyone is at different points on the same journey, it becomes easier to reach beyond our comfort zone to engage those who are lost in the jungle of life. Jesus announces this most clearly in Matthew and Acts:
“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8 Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth. We can go throughout the world with trust and confidence that we are not alone. Christ Himself is going ahead of us, paving the way for the interactions we have with those we meet along the way. Christ is with us in power as we speak the truth of the gospel, regardless of where we are or to whom we are speaking. We are not just in relationship with Him to find personal fulfilment, but to go throughout the world as His ambassadors, proclaiming freedom and life to all people. This is not a new concept. In fact, the Great Commission reiterates God’s original plan to bless all nations and to do it through us, the Body of Christ. At the beginning of the history of the people of Israel God speaks to Abram, saying:
62 | Session 7: Growing in Understanding of the Great Commission “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” So Abram went, as the Lord had told him.” Genesis 12:1-4a Looking at this broader context shows us that God has always wanted to bless the nations and to use His people to do it. Once again, we are part of a huge over-arching narrative of history in which God seeks to be a part of the lives of all people. But how do we make sure that as we reach out to the people of other nations we are communicating the gospel in a culturally appropriate way? The Apostle Paul was a master at explaining the gospel in a culturally appropriate way. On visiting Athens he spoke to the people saying, “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: ‘to an unknown god’. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.” (Acts 17:22-23). Although they would have been at vastly different ends of the Engel Scale, Paul found common ground between them and began to explain the gospel in a way that would enable them to respond to God. Learning the beliefs of others enables us to better communicate Christ’s love in a more contextualised way. Cultures vary and change and so what we say and do will be presented differently based on the time and the region of the world. But the truth of the gospel remains the same and is relevant to all contexts.
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QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: • What do you think Jesus means when He says make disciples of all nations? How does EMI fit into that?
• As you reflect on your experience, how did other people point you to God? What was it about that person/encounter that brought you closer to Him? How can you model that to someone else?
• How do you think culture has an impact on sharing the gospel? In what ways can you use the culture around you to fulfill the Great Commission?
• Discuss some strategies that you can adopt to share the gospel in your community on a regular basis. Pray about them and ask God to help you be intentional with them.
Session 8: Growing Across Cultures “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.” I Corinthians 9:22b In all walks of life, most of us tend to gravitate towards people we know, understand, and relate to. Crossing barriers of culture, race, and worldview is not something that comes naturally to most people. Yet that is what God calls every one of us to do as we fulfil his vision for the Church. The Apostle Paul says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28). Paul makes it clear that the Church of Jesus Christ is one and that there are to be no distinctions in ethnicity or gender. Christ intends that we overcome cultural, racial and worldview barriers and display to the world a love for others that only God can produce. There are several reasons for this. The first reason is that a globally unified Church is what will cause the world to know the love of Christ and believe in His name. In the Gospel of John, we read Jesus’ prayer for all believers,
Discipleship Design Guide | 65 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:20-23 Secondly, crossing cultural, ethnic and worldview barriers is what the Apostle Paul modelled for us and is how he expressed his freedom in Christ. He worked hard to understand the culture and customs of those he was working with and conform to their way of life. He says,
“Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.” 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 It is clear that Paul would always do whatever he could to make the gospel, the good news of Christ, understandable and accessible for all people.
66 | Session 8: Growing Across Cultures Finally, when we join in with people of all nations to worship God, we are aligning ourselves with God’s overarching plan for creation. The Apostle John gives us a glimpse into our future with Christ when he writes,
“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands. And they cried out in a loud voice:‘ Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne,and to the Lamb.’” Revelation 7:9-10 Thus we see how important it is to build bridges to all cultures and peoples, but often it is difficult to know how to do it. Here are few key concepts to keep in mind when reaching out to those of another culture: Be a learner: Show a real interest in the other person’s culture and background. Ask them questions about their people. Visit their family or hometown. Try to learn how to speak their language (at least a few phrases). Ask them to teach you about how they view life. Everyone likes to teach an interested friend about their people and worldview. This breaks down barriers that just naturally develop between different cultures. Develop understanding: When exposed to different customs honestly try to understand them. Make it your goal to understand not only what they do, but why they do it.8 To the outsider, some actions might seem illogical. But in reality, every culture has a logic to why they do what they do. The challenge is to try to grasp that logic and develop bonds of mutual understanding that build relational trust. Be humble: When we don’t understand someone else’s beliefs and values it is easy to foster feelings of superiority. Instead, it is important to speak truth to ourselves and realise that our ways are not better than their ways, they are just different. Humility isn’t putting yourself down in front of others, rather it is looking at yourself realistically and with extreme honesty. There is always the possibility that you might be wrong about something. Be willing to Donald K. Smith, Make Haste SLOWLY! Growing Effective Intercultural Communication (2nd Edition, IICC, 2011), 11.
Discipleship Design Guide | 67 consider the other side and be ready to admit when you a make a mistake. Truly value the opinions and views of others, which will allow relational trust to grow and develop.
crossing cultural, ethnic and worldview barriers is what the Apostle Paul modelled for us and is how he expressed his freedom in Christ.
Be aware of cultural assumptions: Once we overcome cultural barriers and establish trust, we can move toward discipleship with those of a different culture. However, we must be aware of how our cultural assumptions are different from those we are serving. Some cultures focus on knowledge, where others tend to focus on behaviour. Some are individualistic while others tend toward collectivism.9 Our approach should be shaped by these cultural emphases so that people’s lives are actually transformed. Cultures and individuals also have different learning styles. Some learn best by doing and others by memorisation. Some are relational learners and others are analytical.10 Be a student of the culture and adjust your methods to fit your local context. Don’t be afraid to adapt things repeatedly until you see change happening in the lives of those you are working with. The task of cross-cultural discipleship may seem daunting – but don’t let the fear of failure stop you from trying. You will make mistakes, but don’t let that get you down. Rather, just keep trying, loving and listening and God will bring success in His time and for His glory.
Charles A. Davis, Making Disciples Across Cultures: Missional Principles for a Diverse World (Westmont: IVP, 2015), 76-92. Judith E. Lingenfelter & Sherwood G. Lingenfelter, Teaching Cross-Culturally: An Incarnational Model for Learning and Teaching (Ada: Baker Academic, 2003).
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QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: • How do you really come to understand another culture or worldview? Can an outsider ever fully understand another culture? What should be the goal of crossing cultures?
• If an outsider truly works at understanding and becomes a humble learner how would a discipleship relationship be successful?
• What groups of people do you live around that come from another culture or worldview? What are the difficulties that keep you from developing relationships with these people? What practical strategies could you use to overcome these difficulties and build bridges?
• Think about a family or group of people at your own church who come from another culture. How can you get to know them and their challenges? Ask God to help you use your new information to help others.
• In what ways was Jesus’ ministry counter-cultural? As Christ’s followers, how do we manage in times when the culture around us is contrary to Christianity? In what ways have you (individually or as EMI) shown people across cultures that they are valuable to Christ?
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Session 9: Growing in Compassion for God’s People At the beginning of history, “God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Gen 1:27). We are each, then, image bearers of God, but “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Rom 3:23). How much easier is it to receive grace for ourselves than it is to extend it to others, though? In Matthew 18:21-35 Jesus told a story of an unmerciful servant. He spoke of the dangers of holding ourselves in higher regard than others around us or failing to show the same kind of mercy that we have received. We are all guilty, on occasion, of judging our brothers and sisters in Christ too harshly for the very same crimes we have committed. But we are also sometimes guilty of forgetting that it is not just our brothers and sisters who are image bearers of God, but all of those around us. What of the murderer, the paedophile, the unrepentant thief? What of the people around the world who live on rubbish dumps, or who smuggle drugs,
Discipleship Design Guide | 71 or who are generally ‘undesirable’? How easy (or not) is it to think of them as image bearers of God? Yet the God who created the heavens and the earth, the God who reigns in glory, who is goodness and light and has no evil in Him, states not only that we all bear His image, but that “while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8). At EMI, few of us are working with criminals or prisoners, but we are (albeit sometimes indirectly) working and interacting with some of the poorest of the poor around the world. We are often motivated by a desire to improve the world and we hope to use our professional skills to change the world in a positive way and advance the Kingdom of God. But beyond well-designed buildings and facilities, do we have anything more to offer? How else can we engage with those around us who bear the image of God? By working with EMI have we fulfilled our task in the big picture or is God asking us to go farther? How can we begin to understand the lives of those we seek to help? What does it mean to be poor? What is poverty? Do we, as Christians, often as foreigners, have the answers? Do the people we are working with (however indirectly) actually want or need the answers we are providing? In his book, Others: The Insistent Challenge to a Reluctant Church, Chuck Yuill states that “The ultimate test of our relationship with God is in how we react to our fellow human beings who are created in His image, especially those in need.”11 Unfortunately, all too often, as Christians, we respond with good intentions, but without the depth of understanding that is needed to really transform lives. To really honour God and advance His Kingdom we must ensure that what we are offering actually does bring transformation and hope to people and thereby glory to God. We do not want to offer surface transformation that has little lasting impact. Chuck Yuill, Others: The Insistent Challenge to a Reluctant Church (Milton Keynes: Authentic Media, 2007),13.
72 | Session 9: Growing in Compassion for God’s People How do we do that? Firstly, we need to understand what it means to be made in the image of God. It is easy to find the image of God in those who are like us, whose cultural norms and understandings in some way reflect our own. It is much harder to relate to those who think and behave differently. “Love your neighbour as yourself,” says Jesus to the teacher who asks Him about the greatest commandment in Luke 10. This is not a new idea, but one God has been impressing upon His people since the very beginning of the people of Israel. “But who is my neighbour?” asks the teacher. Perhaps he hoped to be told that his neighbours were those who were like him, his friends, his relations, his professional acquaintances. But instead, Jesus challenged him to look beyond the boundaries of race and creed and income bracket and to see his neighbour as anyone who needs mercy. To Jesus, everyone is made in the image of God.
It is much harder to relate to those who think and behave differently.
Secondly, we must examine our preconceptions about poverty and the poor and the way we interact with people. In recent history, there have been many different academic theories proposed regarding poverty and its causes. Many of us think in terms of poverty as being the absence of wealth, but in reality it is far more complex than that. It has been suggested by various secular scholars that poverty is the lack of access to power, resources, or choice; a lack of freedom; a result of oppression; or a system of disempowerment. But what about the spiritual aspects of poverty? Are these separate, or is the spiritual deeply ingrained with the physical? Bryant L. Myers proposes that “the nature of poverty is fundamentally relational and that its cause is fundamentally spiritual.” 12 He goes on to say,
Bryant L. Myers, Walking with the Poor: Principles and Practices of Transformational Development. (New York: Orbis Books, 2011), 15.
Discipleship Design Guide | 73 “The poor are poor largely because they live in networks of relationships that do not work for their well-being. Their relationships with others are often oppressive and disempowering as a result of the non-poor ‘playing god’ in the lives of the poor. Their relationship within themselves is diminished and debilitated as a result of the grind of poverty and the feeling of permanent powerlessness. Their relationship with those they call ‘other’ is experienced as exclusion. Their relationship with the environment is increasingly less productive because poverty leaves no room for caring for the environment. Their relationship with the God who created them and sustains their life is distorted by an inadequate knowledge of who God is and what God wishes for all humankind. Poverty is the whole family of our relationships that are not all they can be. The relationships of the poor don’t work for the well-being of the poor because of the spiritual values held by others and by the poor that do not enhance and support life. Selfishness, love of power, and feelings of ordained privilege express themselves in god complexes. Loss of hope, opportunity, and recognition mar the identity of the poor. Racism, ethnocentrism, and ostracism erode the intended blessing of having many cultures. Fear of spirits and belief in gods that cannot save obscure the offer of the God who desires to save. At the end of the day, the causes of poverty are spiritual.” 13 It is clear then, that poverty is much more intricate than just the absence of wealth. It is into this world of marred identity, powerlessness, and exclusion that we step every time we undertake a new project. We must navigate not only the physical, technical aspects of our work, but pause to look at the bigger picture of what we are doing. We must ask ourselves whether we are enhancing and supporting life, or disempowering and diminishing it. Often the answers are far more complex than we expect. In their book, When Helping Hurts, Corbett and Fikkert examine their own personal motivations for engaging with the poor:
74 | Session 9: Growing in Compassion for God’s People “I confess to you that part of what motivates me to help the poor is my felt need to accomplish something worthwhile with my life, to be a person of significance, to feel like I have pursued a noble cause... to be a bit like God. It makes me feel good to use my training in economics to “save” poor people. And in the process, I sometimes unintentionally reduce poor people to objects that I used to fulfil my own need to accomplish something. It is a very ugly truth, and it pains me to admit it, but “when I want to do good, evil is right there with me” (Rom. 7:21).14 In the same way, we must not only probe our own preconceptions and motivations, but those of our partner ministries and the projects we are undertaking.
Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert, When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor... and Yourself (Chicago: Moody Press, 2009), 65.
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QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: • What does it mean for someone to bear the image of God?
• What does it mean to be poor?
• How can we begin to understand the lives of those we seek to help? What more do we have to offer beyond well-designed buildings and facilities?
• What untapped opportunities do you have to show those around you compassion?
• What motivates you to work with EMI and its partners? What less desirable motives do you have?
• Can you think of an example of a project that ultimately dis-empowered the people it was for? What about a project that empowered and brought life? What was the difference?
Session 10: Growing in Compassion for God’s World “Love your neighbour as yourself,” is a command that we first see in Leviticus (19:18) and it is a powerful theme throughout the Bible. When Jesus is asked “Who is my neighbour?” the man asking perhaps hopes to be told that his neighbours were those who were like him, his friends, his relations, his professional acquaintances. Instead, Jesus challenges him to look beyond the boundaries of race and creed and income bracket and to see his neighbour as anyone who needs his mercy. In today’s global world, particularly if we come from a wealthy country, it can be easy to forget that our neighbours are not just those around us. Our neighbours are those all over the world who are in desperate need of our mercy. The decisions we make, particularly as designers and engineers, have an impact not just on our clients, but on our natural world. In turn, the condition of the natural world can mean life or death to its people. A world which God loves and a people to whom God Himself has called us to show mercy.
Discipleship Design Guide | 77 In Genesis 1, God created the heavens and the earth, the light and darkness, the waters and the land, seed-bearing plants, trees that bear fruit. He created the sun, moon, and stars, and living creatures in the waters, on the land, and in the sky. Finally, He created man and woman in His own image. He looked at His creation and saw that it was good. And He gave humankind the responsibility to steward creation when He said “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:28). But today we have lost a staggering 50% of the world’s biodiversity in the last 40 years alone.15 1.2 billion of our neighbours live in areas where human water use within their water basin exceeds sustainable limits. By 2025 it is projected that two-thirds of the world’s population will live in water-stressed conditions, which is likely to lead to violent conflicts.16 600 million of our neighbours live in coastal areas that are in danger from rising sea levels. Not all of them are in danger of being wiped out completely, like Tuvalu and Vanuatu, or the two islands that are part of Kiribati (a Pacific island nation) that have gone already. However, there will be flooding across huge swathes of coastal wetlands. Fish, birds, wildlife, and plants will lose their habitats, and fresh water supplies will be destroyed by the salination of aquifers.17 Bangladesh, Vietnam, India, and China are among the poorer countries that have large populations in danger areas, but even cities like
WWF (2014) Living planet report. Available online: http://www.wwf.org.uk/about_wwf/other_publications/living_planet_report_2014/. Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture (2007) Water for food, water for life: a comprehensive assessment of water management in agriculture. Earthscan, London, and International Water Management Institute, Colombo. 17 The Climate Institute (2016) Ocean and Sea Level Rise: Consequences of Climate Change on the Oceans [Online]. Available at: http://www.climate.org/topics/sea-level/ [Accessed 20 Apr. 2016]. 15
78 | Session 10: Growing in Compassion for God’s World London and New York are unlikely to escape major damage.18 Food security is another key issue for millions of our neighbours. By 2050 it is estimated that the increasing world population will need 50% more food than it does today, but the effects of climate change on food production mean that there is actually likely to be a drop in crop yields of around 25% in food production between now and then.19 Anthropologist Rachel Hughes Shah reflects upon the disconnection of food from the land in the developed world and compares this to a time spent living with a people group in the rural highlands of Papua. “We are all dependent on the produce of the land, no matter where we live, what our diets, and what our lifestyle...Don’t you find it easy to forget how fragile we – and the ecosystems we are part of – are?” she challenges. She goes on to say, “So much of our contact with food is in supermarket aisles or online, disconnected from any hint of growing…in Era such blindness was impossible. We were keenly and daily aware of the weather, the labour, and the land’s fertility that went into growing the food that literally kept us alive. We saw too how the waste this process generated was itself generative – it was all biodegradable, eventually becoming part of that fertile land again… In town, waste ended up in huge piles of stinking rubbish, waiting to be burned. In the rural areas, we burned what we could and buried the rest…there is nothing like digging your own personal landfill site next door to the gardens you eat from to make you realise how disastrous it is to poison the soil that grows your food”.20 This rural community is hardly exceptional. All over the world there are people groups and communities passing on the traditions of their ancestors and living in a sustainable way with the land. However, for each of these communities there are thousands of other groups who use the earth’s resources without replenishing them and add to the growing piles of waste and increased toxic gas emissions around the planet. What is more, those Greenpeace (2012) Sea Level Rise. [Online] Available at: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/climate-change/impacts/sea_level_rise/ [Accessed 20 Apr. 2016]. The World Bank (2016). Food Security. [Online]. Available at: http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/foodsecurity [Accessed 20 Apr. 2016]. 20 Hughes Shah, R. (2016). Easy Ways to Reduce Waste. [Online]. Wylde and Free. Available at: www.wyldeandfree.com/waste/ [Accessed 20 Apr. 2016]. 18
Discipleship Design Guide | 79 communities that have fewer material possessions, who live from the land and generate little waste, are often among the poorest and most voiceless communities in the world. As humans, we have been responsible for catastrophic damage to God’s creation. But as Christians and as design professionals, we have an opportunity to be a voice not just for voiceless people, but for a voiceless planet. So what does that mean for us as EMI? Is there even anything we can do about this? Fortunately, the answer is a resounding “Yes.” As design and construction professionals in the developing world we have a unique opportunity to reflect God’s love for His creation and the people in it through the way we design and build. As followers of Christ we each have a responsibility to think about how our individual lifestyles are impacting on our neighbours across the globe. We also have a corporate responsibility as a profession to pioneer a design process that reflects God’s care for His creation and the people whose lives are dependent upon its preservation.
we have an opportunity to be a voice not just for voiceless people, but for a voiceless planet.
In a world that glorifies constant technological advances, and in which we may be pressured by clients for the ‘latest thing,’ we are called to stop and assess the bigger picture. We must pause to ask ourselves about even the most mundane, ‘normal’ design features. One graduate architect and former EMI intern tells of a community school he worked on in a developing country after leaving EMI. This school is low-impact – it uses neither electricity nor running water. Instead of air conditioning, it uses natural cross ventilation, it has no need for electricity as it is naturally lit throughout, and instead of flushing toilets it uses latrines. It is built from locally sourced materials. And yet the community response has been mixed. Some feel that the low-impact design
80 | Session 10: Growing in Compassion for God’s World means that it is a low standard design. But this architect understands that this sort of response is to be expected. As a profession we have the opportunity to use our designs to educate people about God’s heart for creation and the need to steward it with care (Gen. 2). Putting in flushing toilets in an area that has very little water might make the local people feel that they had something ‘cutting edge.’ However, this would be ignoring our God-given responsibility to steward creation and the resources available to us. The challenge is to work with and educate the local people so that they want to guard and steward the resources God has entrusted to them. Questions we must ask ourselves include: What is the long-term cost or benefit of this design, or this construction material, for the people of this community? What about the wider global community? Is there a more low-tech solution that would bring greater harmony with creation? Equally, is there a more high-tech solution that could bring sustainability to people and planet? As we move forward into a world that is ever changing, we are called to hold new advances in tension with God’s heart for creation and implement that in a way that is culturally appropriate. As a profession, we have the opportunity to make sure that our work reflects God’s heart and glorifies Him.
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QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: • Have you ever stopped to think about the impact your lifestyle has on communities living in poverty?
• What effect does your lifestyle have on God’s creation? Consider things like your car, your electricity use, the waste you generate. Are there things you could change or reduce?
• Think about a project you have worked on or are currently working on. Are there ways in which you could have made your design more environmentally friendly? What would have been the benefits of doing so for the local community? What about for God’s creation as a whole?
Leading & Influencing Those Around You
Session 11: Leading in the Local Church “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25 We have explored our role in the body of Christ and the ways in which we can contribute to the Kingdom with our gifts, skills, and talents. Now let us begin to think about our impact on those around us and the influence that we can exert. Some of us are naturally gifted leaders and thrive in leadership roles. However, all of us - even those who feel inexperienced or perhaps intimidated by the idea of leadership - have opportunities to exert influence on others. Leadership is a natural next step in our journey of faith. This session will explore what it means to lead within our communities and churches and how we can build the Kingdom and make disciples by leading and influencing others in all aspects of our lives and work.
Discipleship Design Guide | 85 The Gospels make it clear that the invitation to follow Jesus was an invitation to life with Jesus in the context of community. Jesus’ earliest disciples travelled the countryside with Him, shared meals with Him, attended synagogue with Him, and engaged in a host of other activities together. Soon after Jesus’ ascension, the intimate fellowship shared by the early community of believers is vividly depicted in Acts 2:42-47. Their devotion to the apostles’ teaching, prayer, shared meals, and a commitment to providing for those in need not only resulted in glad and generous hearts, but it brought favour upon the community. At EMI we find ourselves in a fairly unique situation of working within a Christian office environment. While this can easily start to seem ‘normal,’ the reality is that for most of our profession across the world this is not the case. In particular, the majority of our interns and volunteers return to work environments that are largely secular. Thus our engagement with our communities and local churches and the way in which we bring our church, work, and family lives together is a key opportunity to influence people for the Kingdom and to engage with discipleship within our profession and our churches. Unfortunately, by the time we reach the fifth chapter of Acts, and as clearly evident later by the various epistles of the New Testament, the harmony of the early Church was repeatedly challenged by divisions, and a neglect of meeting together. As the writer of Hebrews states in the introductory verse above, among the purposes for our meeting together is to stir one another up to love and good works. The act of stirring one another up to love and good works is a picture of what it means to lead in the local church. Though some are called to serve as pastors, teachers, elders or deacons, opportunities to lead within the local church are not limited to these more recognisable roles.
86 | Session 11: Leading in the Local Church In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul writes that those serving in these formal leadership roles are “ to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” (Ephesians 4:12). Within a local church there are usually many opportunities to lead and stir up others to love and good works. Pause a moment and reflect upon what opportunities there are to lead within your church context. Most likely, what springs to mind will be the existing church programs: Activities focused on children, young people, men, women, hospitality, worship, small groups, local outreach, and global missions. And there may be a host of other ministries that express the church’s mission and vision.
Unfortunately, in many church settings, ministry is defined by what occurs under the banner of a local church or even specifically within its walls.
Now pause and reflect again upon the church in Acts and the style of community living that was also modelled by Jesus and His followers. Where were the boundaries? Which day of the week did the programs take place on? Who organised the people or the meetings? Of course, these questions make no sense in the context of the style of church we see in Acts. Unfortunately, in many church settings, ministry is defined by what occurs under the banner of a local church or even specifically within its walls. This tendency to identify ministry within the realm of church sponsored activities or programs has the outcome of reinforcing a division between what we do in the ‘sacred’ realm of church and what we do during the rest of our lives. It reduces, even ignores, any ministry that occurs outside the church walls. Thus it fails to embrace a biblically supported vision of the Kingdom where all kinds of work, service and stewardship are acts of worship and service to God.
Discipleship Design Guide | 87 A pastor’s story, as recounted by author Andy Crouch, illustrates the shortcomings of the “local church only” based definition for ministry. The pastor told Andy: “There’s a woman in our church who was the lead litigator for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the clean-up of Boston Harbor. It’s occurred to me since then that she played this incredibly important role in one of the great environmental success stories of the second half of the Twentieth Century. When I started high school, no one would put a toe in Boston Harbor, it was so polluted. And now there are beaches, and people go to the beach and swim. This Christian woman lawyer succeeded in litigating that case... The only time we have ever recognized her in church was for her role in teaching second grade Sunday school. And of course we absolutely should celebrate Sunday school teachers, but why did we never celebrate her incredible contribution to our whole city as a Christian, taking care of God’s creation?” Now imagine if the pastor of the church the woman attended had seized this occasion to recognise the woman’s role in cleaning up Boston Harbor. This is not only for the sake of praising her, but to demonstrate how her good works benefited the community and also contributed to the restoration of God’s creation. By doing so, he could have stirred up the other members of the church to consider how they might engage in the work of ministry through their occupations or via the community activities they are engaged in. As design professionals engaged in works of ministry that primarily occur outside the walls of a local church, EMI staff, interns and volunteers are afforded unique opportunities to stir up and inspire other members of the body of Christ. We can do this by sharing about the work God has called and equipped us to do. Through this sharing, we can help other members of the body of Christ envision how they might bridge the sacred/secular divide in their own lives. We show them how they might apply their gifts, talents, and skills in the service of others for the honour and glory of God. This in no way means that we should not engage in the programs that our churches are running. In fact, in many ways it becomes even more important that we take on leadership roles within this context. Not for the sake of having a defined
88 | Session 11: Leading in the Local Church leadership role within the church walls, but as an opportunity to share what we do on a wider scale and inspire others to become Kingdom leaders in a wider setting. It is all too easy to fool ourselves that we are already working for the Kingdom all day every day. Thus we opt out of ministry responsibilities in our churches because we feel that we have already done our quota of ministry for the week. However, if we are to inspire others to see their workplaces and their daily lives as areas for Kingdom leadership, then we must first ourselves be committed to meeting together, and building relationships with pastors, leaders, and fellow members. It is only when we take on responsibilities and leadership roles within the context of our churches - whether that begins as childrenâ€™s ministry, or cleaning the toilets on a Sunday - that we allow others access to our lives. Only then can we hope to stir them up to Kingdom leadership in a wider context.
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QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION • Are you involved in a local church?
• What are the benefits of meeting together with other Christians? Why do you think the author of Hebrews emphasises this so strongly?
• What areas of responsibility or leadership do you have within your local church? Why do you do this?
• Can you think of any other ways in which you can engage in leadership in your local church?
• Do you know anyone who works in a secular context but brings Kingdom leadership into their role? What inspires you about this person? What would you like to learn from them?
• Can you think of any areas outside of church in which you have a Kingdom leadership role? How does this role fit into what you do in your church context?
• How can you pass on what you have learned about being a disciple to others around you?
Session 12: Leading in the Community As we explored when we looked at Growing Across Cultures, it can be tempting to congregate with people who are like us, who share the same culture, likes and dislikes, and enjoy the same activities. Particularly when people are in a culture or country that is not their home, there is a natural instinct for those of the same culture to join together. This provides them with the safety and security of familiarity while living in a foreign place. However, this is also true of most of the contexts in which we find ourselves in dayto-day life. For example, our professions, our churches, and our childrenâ€™s schools are all places where we might naturally be drawn towards people who are similar to us. This session will explore what it means to step beyond these boundaries, to engage in our communities and to become leaders in our communities who influence others to do the same. What people understand as leadership can be very different according to their cultural background. Some cultures equate leadership with power and authority, others consider a leader to be someone who has particular personality
Discipleship Design Guide | 91 traits, or someone who undertakes some form of management. When we talk about leadership at EMI we are not talking about someoneâ€™s role within a hierarchy, for example their profession, or church, or community. Leadership at EMI is about a personâ€™s ability to influence others and guide them towards Kingdom values. A leader is not someone who gives orders, but someone whom others follow. It is quite possible for someone in a management position to have considerable power and authority over others, but not to lead them. Equally, a leader may have no power or authority at all, but by the very nature of who they are and how they behave they cause others to want to emulate them. Thus they have great influence over the people around them. Imagine a multi-disciplinary team meeting for the first time to talk about a building project. As they get to know each other it is natural that those who have the most in common are likely to find it easiest to build relationship. Architects share stories with other architects, engineers with engineers, and construction managers with construction managers. For example, it is much easier for an engineer to start a conversation about pressure head with someone who finds it equally interesting, than with someone who doesnâ€™t even know what it is. However, in the Bible we see Jesus continually going against this comfort instinct to intentionally spend time with people who are very different from Him. The story of Zacchaeus in Luke 19:1-10 is a great example. This man, a well-known sinner in the community, wanted to get a glimpse of Jesus. While Zacchaeus was content to just see Jesus passing by, Jesus goes a step farther and invites Himself into his life. They spend time together. They share a meal together and Zacchaeus finds salvation not only for himself, but for his whole household.
92 | Session 12: Leading in the Community Jesus is actively engaging in Zacchaeus’ life. Jesus is aware of what is going on around Him and takes the initiative to seek Zacchaeus out, even to the point of inviting Himself into Zacchaeus’ home. When we think about what it means to engage with and lead in our communities there are several aspects of Jesus’ interaction with Zacchaeus that we can emulate. Firstly, we need to seek out people who are different from us. As a tax collector, whether or not he was actually corrupt, Zacchaeus was stigmatised and hated within his community. Most people avoided him, but Jesus did the opposite and actually sought him out. Jesus was criticised for His efforts to spend time with known sinners. His response was to say that, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17). Secondly, we need to take the initiative in relationships. Zacchaeus did not engage Jesus in conversation. Having sought him out, Jesus invited Himself into Zacchaeus’ home and deliberately pursued a relationship with him. Jesus found ways to spend time with people who were different from Him and actively engaged in relationship. Thirdly, we need to connect with the whole person. When we stop focusing on people’s needs and instead connect with them in a meaningful way, we can empower them to change their own lives. As a result of his encounter with Jesus, Zacchaeus is transformed. He gives half of his possessions to the poor and promises to pay back four times the amount to anyone whom he has cheated. His life begins to come into line with Kingdom values. But this doesn’t happen as a result of Jesus ordering him to change. Instead, Jesus treats him as a friend and equal, and Zacchaeus is inspired by Him. When we identify someone’s needs but fail to treat them as a whole person, we miss an opportunity to build a deep and lasting relationship, and we do that person a disservice. It is very easy to try to engage with our communities by seeking out people’s needs and attempting to meet them. However, this creates a power imbalance, with us as the ‘experts’ and them as passive recipients. Instead, by following Jesus’ lead with Zacchaeus and investing in relationship rather than imposing orders or solutions, we can begin to identify what matters to people. We begin to see how to help them to find transformation for themselves.
Discipleship Design Guide | 93 Finally, we look not to Jesus, but to Zacchaeus himself. Zacchaeus’ transformation leads to transformation for his whole household, which probably included a large number of staff and servants, as well as his extended family. Before, Zacchaeus had power and authority in this little community, but he was a hated tax collector whom people avoided. All of a sudden Zacchaeus is transformed, and he becomes a community leader – he is not exerting power over others, he is influencing them. How does he become a leader? By doing what Jesus did. By embracing Kingdom values in his life and behaving in a way that made others want to be more like him. We all have the opportunity to become leaders in our communities but, in order to follow Jesus’ lead, we need to resist the urge to congregate with people who are like us. This can be especially difficult when we are living in a culture or a country that is not our own. It will take sacrifice and bravery, but in the long run we will build communities that better reflect the Kingdom of God.
QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: • What communities do you belong to?
• What would you need to do to become a leader in your communities?
• It is easy to want to identify people’s needs and meet them, but what can we do to have deeper relationship?
• How can you follow Jesus’ example and engage with people who are very different from you?
Session 13: Leading in the Design and Construction Professions Thus far we have examined different ways of engaging with God. We have explored who our neighbours are and what responsibilities we have towards them. We have come to a better understanding of Godâ€™s heart for His people and His world. And we have looked at what it means to be a leader in community and a leader in the local church. Finally, we will look at how we draw all these threads together to become leaders in our professions. Beyond our individual disciplines, our offices, and our ministry exists a worldwide community and culture that we refer to as our profession. Within the design and construction professions, and within each professional discipline that is represented at EMI, there are leaders. Professional institutions have elected officials who govern and regulate the profession as a whole, they publish journals and provide a forum for sharing ideas, as well as accrediting members according to their training and expertise. But
Discipleship Design Guide | 95 beyond the professional body, most professions also have ‘thought leaders,’ who may or may not hold a formal post in an institution. These are the people who articulate the problems and potential solutions of their profession. They listen, learn, study, speak, write, dialogue, innovate, envision, and change. They seek to be ahead of the curve, watching out for future developments and bringing them into awareness today. They are a force for positive and constructive change in their professional community.
it only takes a small minority within a profession to be the catalysts for positive and constructive change.
In Matthew 13:33, Jesus reflects that “The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed into about sixty pounds of flour until it worked all through the dough.” In the same way, it only takes a small minority within a profession to be the catalysts for positive and constructive change. Here at EMI we want to see our profession transformed to reflect God’s glory, just as we have been transformed to reflect God’s glory (2 Corinthians 3:18). That means basing our decision-making in our professional context on what we know of God and how He calls us to relate to the people and the world around us. And it means rallying others in our profession to do the same.
96 | Session 13: Leading in the Design and Construction Professions We follow a God who cares deeply for the poor and the voiceless; a God who created a world that human beings have systematically taken advantage of and are destroying; a God who calls us to integrity, to action and to everdeepening relationship with Him. Thus being a leader in our professions is first and foremost about taking what we know of God into our professional context and setting an example in the way we both design and deliver our projects, knowing that at all times we are to work hard and serve the Lord (Col. 3:22-4:1). As we have seen, being a leader is not just about issuing instructions from above. Leaders motivate, inspire, encourage, and invest in those around them. Even those who do not necessarily think of themselves as leaders can become leaders just by modelling a different way of working that inspires those around them. In practical terms, at EMI, all of us have the opportunity to be leaders in our profession by modelling a holistic, integrated, and integrityfilled way of working. If we look at 1 Peter 2:4-25, God calls us to be living stones and a royal priesthood, to keep our work so honourable that â€œthey may see your good deeds and glorify God.â€? That means seeking God in all aspects of our work and aiming to glorify Him in all we do. It means working with integrity, being clear about what we can and cannot provide, the scope of our projects, and the length of time it will take to deliver them and keeping to our agreements. It means treating our clients, contractors, and end-users with dignity, seeking to empower and encourage them. It means investing in ourselves and our professional development by learning about sustainable development, new and alternative technologies, and building regulations in different contexts. It means promoting local solutions to local problems and challenging the status quo that the developed world has all the answers. It means giving preference to national staff and volunteers, listening to local expertise and investing in the development of local professionals.
Discipleship Design Guide | 97 It means choosing the most sustainable, sensitive, innovative, lowimpact designs that promote environmental awareness and care for Godâ€™s creation. It means upholding a rigorous interview process for staff and volunteers to ensure that they too are able to embrace leadership in these capacities and model the Kingdom in their designs and interactions. And it means striving for excellence in everything we do and produce. Not only must we model a way of working to those around us that reflects the Kingdom of God, in order to be leaders in our profession we must also communicate. Speaking, writing, professional mentoring, and sharing publications, such as Inside EMI, are all opportunities to impart our expertise and our hopes for the future in a wider context. But also in our everyday working life, every interaction we have, whether with clients, volunteers, colleagues, or within our professional body, we have an opportunity to educate others about these Kingdom values. Thus we have an opportunity to build a network of partners collaborating around the world. Being a leader in the design and construction professions is not an overnight process. It is a lifelong commitment to seeking God, asking questions of our profession and our practices, working with integrity, and investing in those around us. In the long term, the fruit we will reap will be that those who come into contact with us, whether through EMI or elsewhere, will be inspired by our approach to design, our heart to serve the Lord, and our integrity. They will seek to emulate us until bit by bit we transform our profession into one that glorifies God.
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QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION: • What are your reflections on the design profession? What attracted you to it? What is good about it? Where are its flaws and its weaknesses? If you could change the direction of this profession, what would be different?
• Who has inspired you most in your professional development? What was it about this person that made you want to imitate them? How could you model something similar to other professionals?
• Are there other practical things you can think of that would help someone to become a leader in the design profession?
• How does the design profession differ in more developed and less developed countries? How might your context affect your working practices?
• Is leadership different in a professional context than in a church or community context? How?
• Are there things that you do at EMI that you would or would not do in a secular office environment? What impact does this have on your leadership within the profession?
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Author/Editor: Jenny Pillar Jenny worked with EMI for five years in its Costa Rica, UK, and Nicaragua offices. She is a psychotherapist with a passion for seeing people from all walks of life reach their full potential. She studied Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield, England, and has a background in international and community development and adult education. Jenny grew up as a third culture kid and over her lifetime has lived in eight countries on three continents. She lives in Oxford, England with her husband, John, a former EMI architect, and their three children.
â€œWe believe that design and construction professionals have a unique opportunity to influence our profession and the wider world for Christ.â€?
EMI Discipleship Design Guide, Revised 1st Edition, 2018, Engineering Ministries International.