Go Build Something
I’ve always wondered why people who helped me with DIY home products needed a trip to the hardware store in order to get started. There could be five hammers on the wall, but a person would come bringing a new one that was “just right for this particular job.” Something in us must find motivation and joy in holding a new tool. We’ve found this same experience with Fight the Good Fight of Faith, Playing Your Part in God’s Unfolding Drama (FGFF), which is being used to help form disciples who will make other disciples, as an on-ramp to the Capstone seminary classes, and as a conversation starter with guards and staff in our correctional facilities. It seems to be a new tool that is “just right” in a willing hand and that makes a person seek out places where something can be built. Prison and jail classes, juvenile detention facilities, small groups, and Sunday Schools in Topeka, Kansas, are all seeing new “construction” as the movement of discipleship grows.
A couple of years ago, a man came into my office carrying a battered copy of FGFF. I asked him where he got it. He told me he’d gotten it from a former student from our county jail. The story unfolded that the student re-entered and experienced relapse and homelessness, but he kept his FGFF book in his backpack for months until it was passed on to the man who brought it to my office.
One of our current TUMI students is using FGFF in a small group that is meeting in his home. Our administrative assistant is available to help others complete the study. A recent graduate took his Sunday School class through it. One partner church used it to orient new members. And it is used as the pre-requisite for the Capstone seminary classes in our women’s prison, with about 50 disciples and disciple-makers participating. We usually have a class moving through the study in the County jail as well.
We are encouraged to see this tool used with youth as well as adults. Victor, one of our Topeka Associates, prayed and worked with the authorities for over a year, and now has 19 young men in an English FGFF class in our juvenile correctional facility. He is now praying for 35 Spanish FGFF books to use with groups in juvenile transitional housing. In these locations, not only students benefit, but officers do, as well. After the leader shared stories and took time to build relationship, one officer who was watching over the class remarked, “…I did not feel time, it went by so fast.” Sometimes, conversations begun with staff in classrooms continue in parking lots. Our Associate also has opportunity to share with these young people by conducting a Spanish worship service. Spanish inmates in a nearby men’s prison also begin with FGFF and then move into Capstone.
Tools are made for building things and getting stuff done. We see that FGFF is a tool that can be shared and passed around and are encouraged by the hoped-for rebuilding of the city’s understanding of what it means to be a disciple. We long for many of these leaders who have progressed through classes to take FGFF and “go build something” for the Kingdom as they make other disciples.