I have a go to response over the years when anyone gives a compliment about my preaching. Essentially it is, go and thank the churches that had to listen to me learning to preach when I was younger. They are the ones who had to endure a young preacher who wasn’t sure when to stop talking or how to end a sermon. One who had not yet heard the rule of beginning with the ending in mind for instance.
We know the phrase, practice makes perfect. It is a tried and true axiom and applies to discipleship. The more we do the things that discipleship calls us to; the better we will get at doing them. No one starts out understanding their Bible flawlessly. I am pretty sure none of us end our days understanding it flawlessly either, but we definitely improve little by little as we do it.
The doing part of discipleship can sometimes be scary for the person who is leading a new disciple. There is concern for all of the ways something could go wrong. Let me free you up a bit of concern. Something is sure to go wrong at some point. Learning well often involves failure. I have never forgotten the advice to “begin with the end in mind,” thanks in large part to the ending of my very first sermon. I made all of the points on my outline and didn’t know what else to say, so I looked at the pastor who had allowed me to preach that Sunday night and said, “that’s all I have.” I didn’t know what to do in that moment, but I made sure I was better prepared the next time because of it.
We should always look for opportunities to let those we disciple have a safe place to fail and learn from those failures. We should look for ways to give those we disciple a place to succeed. Above all, we should look for ways to give them a place to learn as they do.