So this morning we have really joined the digital age. Because of the large number of internet-connected devices in our home our broadband connection was running really slowly. There were various correlations but the most significant was that the speed of connection was inversely proportional to the waking hours of our teenage offspring.
Hence the conversion to Fibre Optic Broadband. I thought that it would involve diggers digging holes in the road, a trench being dug through our garden and holes drilled in walls. Instead a nice man came in, having done the work at the green box at the end of the road, did a bit of disconnecting and reconnecting, and I was almost ready to go. Following instructions in the booklet that came from our supplier was easy, and after waiting for a couple of minutes… tadaaa. Superfast broadband (at least until the teenagers wake up!).
This quick conversion is in marked contrast to the way in which most people come to faith. It seems that so much attention is paid to the ‘moment’ of conversion – when someone makes a decision to follow Jesus or realises that they are a follower – that we neglect all that goes before and much that comes after.
James F Engel’s famous eponymous scale reminds us that the ‘moment’ is only one part of the journey of faith. An amended version is here:
I have been reflecting on this in preparation for Sunday morning, and wondered where the people who will be in church are currently located on the scale. I hope and pray that they are moving upwards, wherever they currently are, and hope and pray that we as a church are helping them in that process.
It’s a real challenge. We want to be helpful, we want to be supportive, we want to assist people in their following of Jesus (or ‘discipleship’ in Christian jargon) but that can sometimes be reduced to attending a course, or reading a book, or ticking a box. I reckon the best way of ‘discipling’ someone is a group of friends together who encourage one another, who support one another, who pray for one another. If there are particular issues or questions they can ask someone who might know. But it doesn’t need structure so much as a loving mutual responsibility.
Or am I being naive?
Be blessed, be a blessing.