Servant Discipleship


While not complicated this requires perseverance because we are only accustomed to servant practices in our own culture.  What does it really look like to be a servant in Haiti…to disciple in Haiti?

In a book we are currently reading (Cross Cultural Servanthood by Duane Elmer) it was said ‘’we should postpone calling ourselves “servants” until local people begin to use words about us that suggest they see servant attitudes and behaviors in us.”

What?  Doesn’t my coming here make me a servant?  Maybe not…not yet anyway.

Our goal is to be (from Cross Cultural Servanthood)…

  • Serving……but we can’t serve someone we don’t understand.
  • Understanding….but we can’t understand others until we have learned about, from them and with them.
  • Learning….but we can’t learn important information from someone until there is trust in the relationship.
  • Trusting….but to build trust others need to know that you accept and value them as people.
  • Accepting….but before we can communicate acceptance we, people must experience your openness – your ability to welcome them into your presence.
  • Open….openness with people different from yourself requires that you are willing to step out of your comfort zone to initiate and sustain relationships in a world of cultural differences.

This all makes more sense if we start the process from the bottom and work our way to the top, beginning with openness.

God is also challenging our view of a ‘’discipleship’’ relationship.  Can it be done around a table with a curriculum?   Is it really more than that?  A short time ago, Wawa, one of our Haiti Consortium leaders came and shared his view on discipleship with our local Expat community.

We have been challenged.

We have been convicted…again.

Key points that spoke to as Wawa shared…

  • In dealing with the power distance culture we now live in we have to be willing to lower ourselves or elevate others to level our relationship with them.  He said we will never be successful if we can’t do this first step.
  • Be open.  Be open and transparent with the person you are discipling.  He said that discipleship here can never happen in a formal setting it has to happen informally.  This goes back to power distance issues.  He added that if you are using a book or written material you are doing a program not discipleship.  If the person you are seeking to disciple doesn’t feel at home in your home you are not doing discipleship.  It is truly experiencing life together just as Jesus did with the twelve.
  • It will be risky.
  • It will be sacrificial
  • We will be taken advantage of
  • We will bear fruit

We have been on a path of creating barriers due to fear of the unknown and lack of trust.  Do we trust God enough to be more willing to open our doors?  Our hearts?

Continuously battling our humanity as God patiently waits for us to allow Him to use us is humbling.

It’s a process of learning new and unlearning old habits, searching deep within ourselves for what may be obvious to others but a blind spot for us.

As we pursue the right steps for our family we have been reminded that the only One we should compare ourselves to is Him.

Jesus modeled discipleship.

He showed us how we should live life here on earth.

He has gone before us and is asking us to follow.

We are filled with His Spirit.

We are in good company.

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2 Responses to Servant Discipleship

  1. Art says:

    Thank you for sharing this message. Your family is an inspiration to many.

    In our prayers,

    The Pender Family

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