September 24, 2018

Worth Doing Badly

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“If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.”  ~ G. K. Chesterton

There are some things in life that require an expert and need to be done expertly and exactly:

  • open heart surgery
  • rocket science
  • rock climbing
  • electrical work… to name a few

But, Chesterton argues in his book, What’s Wrong with the World, that the most worthwhile activities, like raising children or writing a love letter, are best done by amateurs rather than professionals.

Several years ago, my father wrote a “Letter of Blessing” to each of his children. A computer programmer by profession, he is not a man of many words. He shows his love by serving and working hard. Writing a letter was outside of his typical practice and comfort zone.

As I read the letter over breakfast with him one day, I was moved to tears. In his personal style (think logical arguments and bullet points) he expressed his love for me in a way no professional writer ever could. The emotions and truth expressed were worth more than any flowery words by a professional.

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

For years at my church, I have been struggling to find an effective way to disciple new and maturing believers. We have tried formal classes and self-directed models. We have used many discipling curriculum, books, and resources written by knowledgable professionals with deep theological insight and training; but nothing gained traction in our community.

Earlier this year, we tried something that made several of us uncomfortable. We started a couple groups that simply read a lot of scripture (think 30 chapters a week), met regularly, talked about what they heard God saying, and prayed for each other.

The group was NOT led by professionals and it did NOT use a professional curriculum. We simply read the Bible together and allowed believers to disciple other believers.

There is so much excitement and enthusiasm among those involved in these little groups… others have witnessed the excitement and are now asking to join!

As we study the Bible together, I’m sure we get some interpretations wrong. We miss some key ideas. We overlook an important connection. But despite all of our shortcomings, we are seeing people find new life in their marriages, turn away from drinking, begin praying for opportunities to tell non-believers about their hope in Christ, and more!

We continue to revise how we run the groups, the questions we ask, and how we split groups as new people get invited. We don’t fully know what we are doing, but we are seeing lives change.

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

In the great commission, Jesus sends us ALL out to make disciples — not only pastors and missionaries, but EVERY believer. Discipleship is a thing for everyone, done best in relationships and out of love, not by professionals with technical skill.

If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing badly.

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