December 26, 2014 by AJ Briones
Just now I was able to arrive home after attending a joint Bible Study Group Christmas party of my former Church. I stayed in the congregation for about 3 years before I decided to return to our Galleria congregation before transferring to where I am attending now, Pioneer. Being able to attend their party was indeed a good experience but beyond that, it gave me a good reminder of what I must press on in believing and incorporating in my life as I allow God to use me to share His Word to more and more people. Actually, I asked my former leader to allow me to share this to the group but I guess God had intended me to share this through other means; time constraint. Hopefully, through this write-up of mine, I can extend my thoughts to more people.
If there was something to highlight during the party I attended, it was discipleship – sharing who and how Jesus lived that emphasizes a life-changing personal encounter with Him. (that’s the simplest way I could put it). You could see represented in the party were different Bible study groups lead by those who were a part of one group; branched out and continuously growing. It was a fascinating sight to see. If there was one person to thank other than God, I guess that would be Pastor Mel – a former missionary who tirelessly took time to meet people and built relationships with them. One thing I appreciate about him was that eventhough I was no longer in his group, he never got tired communicating and remembering me; inviting me to Bible studies, get togethers and even to simple lunch outs. For me that was discipleship. That was a true definition of what I call discipleship.
A common mind-set of Christians out there was that if you were a “leader” or “discipleship coach” was that you needed to be so influential to the extent that you would have a minimum of 12 people in one of your groups. The thought kind of made a lot of Christians to shy away from the thought of establishing their own group, thinking that a group of 2-3 was quite insignificant. Well, that’s extremely misleading. You see, discipleship was never about creating crowd but by creating genuine relationships with people. I have been to awfully a lot of congregations and Churches out there and one message keeps on ringing in my head and that’s quality over quantity. Create long lasting relationships rather than short lasting big groups. I appreciate Pastor Mel for always including me in his group in spite of my distance. I am in a distant congregation but I still feel included and that’s what you call relationship. Sadly, a lot treats their Bible Study members as mere attendees; only a part of the count. It should not be as such. We have to start viewing them as indispensable parts of a group; people with irreplaceable value; people who we are willing to share our lives with and be patient with. I know that at times I am a challenge to Pastor Mel. The screws ups I made are things that he does not count, rather he encourages me and checks on me; especially those times I do not communicate (well, I’m really not the share-you-this type of person. That’s a problem with me). It isn’t about how long we have been in the Church. It isn’t about how many members we have in our group. It isn’t about what position we have in the Church, congregation or ministry. It isn’t about sharing the best Bible versed but rather about how long are we willing to be there genuinely for people. Maintaining a relationship in spite of distance, situation or any boundary we could think of.