Don’t Be a Bench Warmer
When we fill out the roster of a congregation, sometimes we see a star-studded lineup: the prayer warrior, the hymn expert, the family worship specialist, the theologian, the missions maven. Most of us are bench players compared to those guys. And while it’s true that God’s Spirit has distributed different gifts and passions throughout the body, we can often run the risk of using that truth as an excuse for making a comfortable career out of benchwarming and leaving the work of discipling others to the pros.
God may not be calling you to become the person your whole church looks to in any of these areas, but He does want you to be a jack-of-all trades when it comes to practical holiness. It isn’t good enough to know someone who knows how to pray; God wants to hear from you. He doesn’t expect you to lead worship for the whole congregation, but He does call upon you to teach and admonish your brothers and sisters with psalms and hymns.
Maturity in Christ doesn’t mean getting really good at commending the example of other people while avoiding the opportunity to use your own walk of faith as a model. It’s easy to pass the buck and reinforce an expert mentality in the church as if certain aspects of discipleship were only for the pros. But discipleship isn’t deflection. Maturity means having a Christian life that is worthy of emulation by others.
This doesn’t mean that you need to become an expert, though. When someone asks you for guidance on how your family worships God, or how you’ve found ways to cultivate and demonstrate a heart for the lost, they might be just as intimidated by an expert as you are. Maybe what a new Christian family needs to see is not a thirty minute mini worship service morning and evening around the family table, but five minutes of struggling to keep everyone’s attention fixed on God. So instead of saying, “Oh, you should talk to the family worship guy” or “She’s the one in our church whose really into missions; ask her,” invite them to join you in your habits and practices of holiness. What you do may not be impressive or perfect, but if what you do isn’t worthy of imitation at all, then you’ve grown far too accustomed to life on the far end of the bench.
Don’t grow comfortable letting Christian superstars carry all the load. If the thought of discipling a brother or sister in some of the basics of the Christian life intimidates you, check your life and heart to make sure it isn’t because you’re neglecting the basics yourself. Following Jesus isn’t just for the pros and living the Christian life isn’t rocket science. You don’t need to be an expert to disciple someone. You just need to be faithful and obedient, so that when you say “Follow my example, as I follow Christ,” both you and anyone who follows you end up closer to Jesus.