Encouragement and Personal Follow Up

Last year I taught the 2 Ways to Live course in FOCUS Team - one session in English and one session in Mandarin. I like 2 ways to live. I think it must be some personality thing. I find practising 2 ways to live quite an intellectual challenge, and it helps you to think critically and logically when you try to answer an unbeliever's question. You have to work your way through 6 pictures, try to bend the conversation back to the gospel, pin point people's logical problems, understand others' hidden agenda in their questions, and then challenge them to make a decision to accept Christ as their personal saviour. I like to teach the part on understanding different believes and Christian cults, and how can we apologise the Biblical truth. I like intellectual challenges, and I like 2 ways to live. That's the geek in me.

For this year, I have been teaching Personal Follow Up course in FOCUS Team, but honestly I do not think I am up to the task. I am terrible at following up a new Christian, and I think it is probably a personality thing again. I have never been a caring person, and I don't like to talk much. Building up relationship with another human being has never been trivial to me, and I find it much harder to motivate myself to put in my love and care to help out a Christian brother. I used to excused myself saying that I am naturally introvert. However deep inside I know that I am just selfish - an inward looking geek that cares pretty much only himself.

And that makes me a hypocrite when I teach Personal Follow Up, which is all about putting others' interest first. I can't contribute freely, and I don't enjoy the discussion, because I know all the points I made are actually firing at me.

There are 2 more weeks to go before the FOCUS Team for this session finishes. I will be reviewing a small book called "Encouragement" by Larry Crabb. Actually I was told by V to read it 2 days ago because suddenly she realised that she did not have time to do it (V was supposed to review it). It is not about what kind of encouragement we can get from the Bible or from other church members, but it is about how we can give encouragement to others in the church. It first talked about the importance of tongue - it can kill and it can heal. Then it talked about the obstacles that we might encounter when we meet in the church - the layers/barriers people set out to protect themselves (or to prevent face-loosing situation, in a Chinese way). How we break through the layers is not by the total openness of ourselves, but by the commitment to one God and one truth. Moreover, what you say to encourage is not as important as why you say, as we need to look at our motivation very carefully. I've only read half the book last night...

I am still digesting what I have read, but I am hoping it can somehow challenge me to think about my own personal follow up situation.

Update 28 May 2003 11:13pm: We ended up not having Personal Follow Up today, as we only had one person coming. That will leave me one more week reading through the book. V has also found some person work related material from somewhere, and we will probably do that instead. Meanwhile, my head hurts. A is asking about her computer that I was supposed to fix (still sitting under my desk collecting dust), and my Fink installation has had a bad hair day today, and I'm busy reinstall all the mac apps. Another night buried in my virtual world. <sigh>