Today I continue my 2013 Discipleship Interview Series with Kelly Minter. Kelly is a worship leader, author, speaker, songwriter, and musician. She’s written several books and studies including Nehemiah and also served on the advisory committee for Bible Studies for Life
How do you articulate the holy tension in God’s role in transformation and the believer’s role?
I think throughout Scripture we see evidence of God moving directly and unmistakably in people’s lives (even when they weren’t looking for it, e.g. Paul on the Damascus road), while at other times we see a very clear call to take off the old self, to make sure no root of bitterness springs up in us, to put on the virtues, etc. As I reflect on my own life I can’t quite make perfect sense of how the two work together.
I remember very specific moments of repentance that I think were groundbreaking for me, specific milestones where I decided to say “no” to my own, natural way of doing things and “yes” to what God instructed, even though it was so counterintuitive and so against what I wanted to do at the time. As a result of those choices, I experienced God’s peace and His blessing, though not everything was as tidy as that.
On the other hand, when I consider my journey with the Lord, I am absolutely convinced that the healing and freedom and peace I experience would not have been possible if not for the very specific moments when God reached down and undeniably delivered me from myself—when I wasn’t looking to be obedient. While I remain one hundred percent convinced that my current sanctification, if you will, has everything to do with my willingness and commitment to obedience, I’m one thousand percent convinced I’m transformed because of God’s active grace in my life. In Scripture I see both our role and God’s in our transformation, which happens to be consistent with my own experience. Yet ultimately, I have to put the weight in His corner—He is the author and finisher. He’s the One who’s given me the grace for any holiness I have.
Who has been influential to you in forming your view of discipleship?
I love what Dallas Willard has to say about discipleship, especially in his book The Divine Conspiracy. He writes a lot about what it means to be one of Jesus’ apprentices, how it is an on-going, daily relationship and how by being a disciple of His we can teach others to do the same.
Of course, Beth Moore has discipled me from afar through her studies and teaching. I began learning from her in my early years of college and my biggest take-away was her love of the Bible and her obvious intimacy with Christ. She inspired me to be in the Word and by committing to that time I learned more of Christ’s character, His design and desire for our lives, His truths, His revelations. I could see the fruit resonating from her writing and teaching and I could tell she knew the Lord in a way I wanted to as well. I think this is discipleship.
Lastly, and certainly not least, my parents and their church community were the biggest influences in my life. I saw them love God, serve Him, study His Word and live by that Word, and that changed everything for me.
What has changed, for good and bad, in the practice or methods of discipleship in recent years?
I think the biggest challenge we have right now is time. For most of us our lives are so incredibly busy that there is little time left to experience life with one another, never mind actually teaching or learning from someone. We are so over-scheduled running from work, to the gym, to a child’s soccer game or school play, to get dinner on—always planning the next thing—that we’ve pushed God and the idea of discipleship to a tiny corner of our lives, often reserved for an hour on Sundays.
We can have many good resources and discipleship methods but if we don’t have time for relationship, purposeful and patient relationship, then there’s no room for discipleship. I’m teaching a bible study this fall for my church, and I’ve decided it to have it at my home for this very reason—so we can have space to linger and converse and talk about the “real” situations of life that we so desperately need Christ and His Word to speak into. I’m hoping that discipleship will take place in the living room, in the kitchen over coffee, etc.
And as I teach others I’m in great need of being taught myself. Just last week I sat on the porch of a woman in her sixties who loves the Lord wholeheartedly—we talked about everything from home design to intercessory prayer to our favorite heirloom tomato recipes. Being with her, though we didn’t necessarily think of it this way, was her discipling me. And I loved it. But the key was she’d made the time.