Does it seem strange to you that our ministry is to help those who have not learned to be productive members of society, to help break addictions, to make disciples for Christ, in order to return as productive citizens and missionaries to their community, but what we talk about the most is farming?
Life is hard
The year was 1992 and I was graduating from High School with no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and no real idea on how to live my life. For years I relied on my parents to tell me what to do and how to do it, and I relied on my teachers to teach me and tell me what was required.
Now in college I found out that nobody cares to tell you what to do or when to do it. If you succeed great, and if you fail there is always someone new to take your place. I came home after two years of college and entered the workforce and bounced from job to job for twenty years, always dissatisfied and still trying to figure out life.
Once I started studying the Bible, especially my intense study of Romans, I realized that the life I was wasting wasn't mine to waste at all.
What is a Disciple?
A disciple is a student or a trainee, kind of like an apprentice. First you learn, then you observe, then you do, finally you teach a new apprentice.
The first thing we teach a potential disciple is about salvation. I remember when Jesus taught about the four soils and how we broadcast the seeds of truth, but while some seeds bounce off the hardened path and the birds ate up the truth, and some fell on rocky soil, but didn't have any depth to grow and withered away, and other seeds fell on thorny ground and were choked out, there was this good soil where the seeds fell and then flourished.
If a farmer decided to ignore his crops after they were planted, he would have a very sorry looking harvest, but this is what happens too many times in church. We have a come in, sit down, be quiet, listen to us, fill that plate up and then get going model.
Paul, while dealing with divisions in the Corinthian church, hit on this idea that while he planted the good news, and his fellow minister Apollos watered and cared for the work that Paul started, only God gives the increase. None of the things we do is anything if God isn't working behind the scenes causing a change in people's lives. This is how discipleship and sanctification go hand in hand. He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ (Phillipians 1:6), and one of the ways God does this is through discipleship with other believers.
What Does Farming Have To Do With This?
How many times have I found myself at some job where something comes down the assembly line? I don't know where this thing came from, I don't know where it's going, I don't know what it is, all I know is that I'm sending it on down the line. The boss is yelling, all I can do is wait for the day to be over, and cash that check at the end of the week.
With farming, we see the planting of seeds, or the birth of animals. We care for these things and bring them to harvest. We eat what we grow, we market what we grow, we sell what we grow.
Farming is exactly like discipleship because we invest our lives into what we produce, whether it's a carton of eggs, or a disciple of Jesus. We invest time because there is no shortcuts when you want something done right. You don't pop a seedling into a microwave and get a full crop in 30 seconds, and you don't pop a new Christian in the microwave and churn out an ambassador for Jesus in 30 seconds.
Farming takes work, and for many people that's a bad thing. Work has become exactly what it wasn't meant to be, a never ending nightmare of confusion, frustration, failure, and rejection.
At The Discipleship Center, we want to turn back the hands of time to a simpler lifestyle. We want to show people that you don't have to be tied down to your cellphone, your facebook account, your instagram, your television. We want to slow things down a bit so they can see how it is to wake up early, enjoy some peace and quiet, put in a days work on something that means something to you, to be able to study the bible with a teacher in a way that can make sense to your every day life, to have a counselor who can take time with you to go over things that matter to you, so that some day you will be able to process the things inside you and around you with a biblical mindset. Most of all, we want people to go to bed at the end of the day with no regrets, knowing that they served God with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their strength and all their mind.