Strumming Along Discipleship


Over the last few years I’ve posted on and off again about my battle with learning guitar. I’ve struggled with the metronome, I’ve had issues with learning chords (the F chord is my nemesis), and I’ve also struggled with learning by myself. For a while I had a teacher and that went, well, okay, not so good. In fact, I packed up my guitar and didn’t play it for over two years.

Back in September, my kiddos asked to learn how to play drums and guitar (son drums and daughter guitar). It was a struggle for them to begin practicing and get into the habit of doing it every day. And so I came up with the idea that if they practice, I practice. I picked up a Hal Leonard book on learning guitar and started practicing every day for 20 minutes while my kids practiced for 10.

I actually started doing well by myself and then I hit a wall. I needed some help with a few odds and ends with the chords, notes, and other things. So, I broke down and went to take lessons myself.

And I learned a few things. I learned that even though I knew my chords, my technique needed work. Even though I knew how to play chords, I learned of this thing called a strumming pattern. My previous teacher never taught me about the strumming patterns that were out there. I also learned how to deal with the dreaded F chord. And my playing improved.

Now I meet with my guitar teacher each week (I joke that I’m his padiwan) and I learn more and more. I learned more than I would have alone.

This is much like discipleship in the church today. We try to hard to do things on our own, we learn to read the Bible on our own, we learn to pray on our own, we learn to go to church and worship on our own. Yes, we have friends at church. Yes, we go to Bible studies or what not. And yet, there’s something missing. There’s something not being taught or learned that would greatly improve one’s pilgrimage, one’s faith journey as they walk with Jesus.

This is where one-on-one discipleship is so important. A little while back I blogged about how believers in Jesus are on a pilgrimage together. We’re all in our own spot on the journey yet we need one another to journey together. Some have read the map in more detail and understand it better. Some have gone this way before and know the pitfalls that lay ahead. Some know the struggles of being in one spot for a while and can help fellow pilgrims to move forward. Yet we’re all in this same journey together.

When we are willing to be discipled (or even to disciple on a one-on-one basis) we allow ourselves to learn so much from other believers in Jesus.

Just like I learned something about my own technique in playing guitar or the fact that there’s something called a strumming pattern, we need others to help us learn more, grow deeper, and become stronger in our faith walk. I might have learned about the strumming patterns sometime down the road with many of the self-help and for dummies books and videos out there (like on YouTube). At the same time, I had someone come along side of me and help me understand it better, sooner, and with enough help to become better at it.

I have a long way to go in learning to play guitar still. I’ve come a long way from where I was, but I’m not where I need to be yet. The same is true on our faith journey and pilgrimage. We’re not where we were but we’re not there yet.

How can you help disciple someone today? How can you be discipled today?

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