The military knows that it can’t have a bunch of individuals running around in a squad. It needs a functioning unit, and to accomplish this, each individual needs to stop thinking of themselves as an individual and reinvent themselves as a member of a body with a specific function that acts on behalf of the squad. The first step in this identity transformation is to buzz the head of every recruit, issue identical standard issue clothing, and teach them to march in formation as a single unit. The Army requires this to instill the principle that there are no individuals in a squad.
Individuals get people killed. Therefore, they have to train them to think as a unit. In the same way you have to train a church planting core team about their corporate identity.
They need to know that they’re no longer Christian consumers who attend church services to meet their own needs. They are no longer merely autonomous individuals. They are soldiers. They are missionaries. When Paul spoke to Timothy, he told him to reframe how he saw himself, “Endure hardship as a good soldier.” They need to know that they are picking a fight with the enemy, and the second they enlist, they are in the enemy’s crosshairs. Whenever somebody joins one of my core teams, I shake their hand and issue both a congratulatory welcome my condolences in the same breath. It’s usually something like, “Welcome to the team. I’m sorry. Your life is about to fall apart.” In the same way, every drill sergeant is aware that he’s training men for death. As they head out into mission, these thorns in their flesh are going to be paving the way to greater power. Their weakness becomes exposed through thorns in the flesh, opening up a channel for Christ’s power to rest upon them. Their flesh dies daily as they reckon themselves dead. They become toughened up. In short, I’m asking them to develop a war mentality.
In times past, men and women embarked on pilgrimages to places of religious worship, but in order to truly make a pilgrim, a soldier for Christ, or a missionary, one makes a reverse pilgrimage, away from centers of religious worship. It’s the outward propulsion of a soldier deployed on mission, or a missionary leaving Father, Mother, brothers, sisters, that resembles Jesus leaving heaven. If you want to be Christ-like, you must be on mission. The rest of the time, we learn in the trenches, on deployment. Boot camp doesn’t make a soldier, it just trains him to start thinking like one. John Bunyan echoes this:
“Who would true valor see, Let him come hither;
One here will constant be, Come wind, come weather; There’s no discouragement shall make him once relent His first avowed intent to be a pilgrim.”
Therefore, in order to truly be discipled, your people have to take to the road, just like the disciples did; even if that means simply crossing the street for mission. The point is, there must be a sending. There must be a going.
Nonetheless, before a soldier deploys, there must be some teaching. Jesus, Paul, and the United States Army all required class time, even when there’s a war going on. Jesus journeyed to the desert of solitude for 40 days prior to undertaking his mission. My goal is to train you on what to teach your team in the upcoming months. It’s important that they’re reading the right stuff, grasping the right principles, and knowing how to point and shoot at the right targets.
Buy Peyton’s newest book “Reaching The Unreached: Becoming Raiders of the Lost Art” over on Amazon.com. You can also download a free chapter and watch a cool trailer for the book HERE or click the image below.