People Can Imitate Your Actions But Not Your Intentions, So Be Clear

"The rule of life we follow shapes our lives and our community around three relational priorities: Up, In and Out."

One of the most important lessons we’ve learned through being involved with 3DM is that imitation is a vital component of discipleship. It’s not enough to give people the right information and then send them straight out from there to try to implement it. There is a necessary experience of imitation in an apprenticeship environment that must take place.

When I first heard this, I instantly realized I was really good at giving people the information, but I was not very consistent in providing people with an example to imitate. I realized that people couldn’t imitate my intentions, they can only imitate my actions, which meant I had to lead by example or I was never going to make a disciple.

So, we’ve slowly been developing new rhythms in our life that we can invite others into, so they can “imitate us as we imitate Christ.” 

The rule of life we follow shapes our lives and our community around three relational priorities:

1. UP—with God, expressed in passionate spirituality.

2. IN—with the church, expressed in radical community.

3. OUT—with others, expressed in missional zeal.

I’ve organized the specific rhythms under these three categories. These rhythms are flexible, and obviously some have changed temporarily to aid the process of grafting together with another church in our city, but this gives you a general picture of what we’ve been doing for the past year or so in our missional community.

Passionate Spirituality (UP)

1. Family prayer, morning and evening. Not too many people join us for this one, of course, but simply having a time of prayer with our family twice a day provides tons of fresh stories to tell others about how Deb and I are seeking to disciple our children. And sometimes people do get to join us, which is always lots of fun. Sometimes it goes well, other times it’s a struggle, but the fruit comes from the consistency of the discipline over time.

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Ben Sternke
Ben is a husband of one, a father of four, and is currently planting a network of missional communities in Fort Wayne, Indiana.