Richard Hultmar: I have been invited to join a mentoring group with Dietrich Schindler. The first assignment is based on his book “The Jesus Model”. (Read Jonas Melin’s excellent review on Barnabasbloggen).The chapter I read is on multiplication, where Schindler lists seven qualities in a Chrurch Multiplication Movement. (This chapter is also included in the second M4-book that will be out next week.) Here are my reflections on the factors I found most interesting:
I have reflected on the subject of multiplication for a few years and have focused mainly on discipleship training methods. (LTG:s and T4T). After reading the multiplications chapter in “The Jesus Model” a combination of three of the G7 qualities are sticking out: Discipleship depth needs to intentionally be based on a reproducible model, or models, with a timed release. The timed release is the factor I have not considered before! (Timed release is the expiration date set for a group when it takes off, to decide when it needs to multiply and how.)
Some reasons I believe why I have not considered it, and why it is naturally overlooked in Sweden:
- Sweden is an individualistic culture. So if you invest in a friendship, it better be long term. There is a tendency to fear opening up to new people and most people think personal relationships takes time to build and need to last long.
- The Scandinavian mindset is expressed in the famous “Jante’s law” which in this case challenges us: “You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than us.” So the question hanging in the air is: “When can I rightly say that I do well enough as a disciple? I’m probably not ready yet.”
- Another paragraph of Jante’s law says: “You’re not to think you know more than us.” It stirs the question: “When do I know enough to say I am a disciple?” And in a culture that values knowledge it is presupposed that it takes time to learn.
So challenging these mindsets and being clear on when you do well enough and what you need to know, are things to deal with. Without the timed release factors we will be working with the same people too long, and unintentionally create a new kind of Christian consumer, instead of a movement of Christ followers. The suggested six months for a discipleship group seems too short to me. What about house churches and other small groups? How long is their expected life span in a multiplication movement?