Starting at the age of eight, I took piano lessons for ten years.
The lessons I was given were all about fingerings and techniques, about reading the notes and then playing more and more complex pieces. I did my best to practice these advanced compositions and somehow labored my way through them. I practiced and practiced and practiced…
And yet, at no point did someone show me how to free myself from the slavery of those notes and actually make music. To be able to just sit down and let the music flow, to have a good time creating something that others actually could enjoy.
Why didn’t I ever reach that point? More practice of the same kind would not have been the answer. Practice is indispensable if you want to make music, yet practice alone doesn’t create art.
That reminds me of church…
Pastors try to equip the saints by teaching and preaching from the pulpit, by doing more and more of the same kind of “exercises” week after week. How many sermons does it take to make a disciple? And how many sermons would be necessary to eventually free a disciple from the need of being fed by these sermons? When will a disciple be able to step out and start performing the art of disciple making?
For most of us, it’s probably not done by listening to many more sermons. No, real disciple making only comes from getting involved with people. From caring enough to leap, to bleed for one another and for the lost. From leaving the greenhouse environment and going out into the world, where it’s risky to be a follower of Jesus.
This is when we leave “the slavery of those notes” behind and start making music ourselves. Probably, there will be a lot of improvising, especially in the beginning, and technically this ”music” may not always meet the highest standards, yet it will touch lives.
Disciple making is the kind of “music” the Lord wants us to play, and his Spirit is going to make it sound real heavenly.