Experience vs. Process

experience vs process

A big event means a great experience. I bet you can remember a “life-changing” experience in your life. Maybe you can think of two or three. These are the crucial moments in our lives that change our trajectory. It might be a retreat, a mission trip, a worship night, or a conference.

These are necessary.

In your desire for the experience, you are likely to forget about the need for the process.

The purpose of the experience is to strengthen the process.

Tim Elmore said, “If all we do is offer big events, we may inspire students, but we’ll never get beyond the excitement and emotion of the event.”

The process is essential because that is where real growth happens.

Here are five differences between an experience and the processes. We need both, but we often neglect the process.

1.  An experience inspires a group, the process transforms a group.

This is why you should be in a small group or discipleship relationship. Growth takes more than one night or weekend. The experience is like a catalyst to the process. Too many people are motivated to transform but are not willing to go through the process.

2.  An experience is attractive, the process is necessary.

It is more fun to show up to an event that involves free food, loud music, lots of people and a heart-grabbing message than have it be your week to bring the donuts to Bible Study. The processes is necessary because it is over time that our hearts are broken and restored. It is in the processes that we struggle with what it means to be a disciple.

3.  An experience usually needs money, a process always needs time.

Big events are expensive for someone, probably not you, but someone paid for the space, entertainment, food and free stuff. The best thing about the process is that it requires little money, but it always requires a lot of time. Do not grow impatient of the process.

4.  An experience requires a small commitment, a process requires perseverance.

This is why more people will be in church on a Sunday than small groups during the week. We like our Christianity without genuine commitment. But growth requires perseverance.

5. An experience allows us to stay hidden, a process requires that we be real.

It is easy to hide in the back at a large event. Events often do not require that we talk, share or interact with people on a deep level. The process takes away the ability to hide. That is probably why some of you are scared of joining a small group.

If all this true, why are we so afraid of the process? 

Three Things Monday (Mar. 3)

Here are a couple things from around the internet that are worth your attention.

Why I Don’t Love My Fiance 

“In 130 days I’m getting married, and a friend recently asked me why I love my fiancé. I wanted to share a deeper perspective on Amanda and I’s relationship, so before I answered why I love her, I had to first explain to him the reasons I don’t love my future bride to be.”

Olympian’s Alternative Lifestyle

It is interesting what the world thinks of an athlete who is married, has a kid and wants to be a pastor.

Time Management for Leaders

The best leaders manage their times well. Check out these four tips from The Resurgence.

AW Tozer

When Missions Isn’t Sexy

Missions, Andes Mountains

I have been on a lot of mission trips. I have built churches in Mexico, spent weeks in the Andes’ Mountains, and slept on the ground of an orphanage.

I’ve never shared Jesus with my neighbor.

I discovered something recently. Mission trips are sexy. They attract our attention. That is why you are likely to jump at the chance to go. Everyday evangelism lacks appeal.

Let me give you some examples:

  • “Four weeks in the jungles of Brazil”
  • “Help rebuild Haiti”
  • “Dig wells in an African village”
  •  “Love street children in Thailand”
  • “Spend a month with the underground church”

Maybe you have been on these. Maybe you are planning on going. I really want to go to Thailand, I heard it will forever change my life.

Is it possible that missions serves my purposes more than it serves the purpose of God?

Do not misunderstand me, global missions is needed. God might want you to go on all five trips. The world is in desperate need of his redemptive power.

Mission trips are attractive because they require only a week or two of commitment. I get to travel somewhere new and experience a new culture. I benefit.

What happens when the mission God has called you to, is not sexy?

  • “Share the Gospel with your lab partner”
  • “Start a Bible study for your intramural team”
  • “Take your roommate to church”
  • “Wake up early and pray for your professor’s salvation”

I think these fall under the category of “unattractive”. They are not eye-popping. They are unattractive because they require actual commitment. No one will celebrate or ask to hear about this mission trip. You cannot put it on a resume or share pictures with your church.

I believe the true test of the great commission is found not in the attractive but the unattractive. It is found in the mundane not the extraordinary.

Would our campus look different if we embraced the unappealing?

Why travel the world when I can walk across the street?

Things That Do Not Make Sense

wonder, don't make sense


(of an idea or suggestion) wildly unreasonable, illogical, or inappropriate.

There are some absurd moments in the Bible.

There is a peculiar verse tucked away in an often time overlooked book of the Bible. Most of us don’t spend a lot of time reading Hebrews because, I’ll admit it too, its full of hard to understand statements. Buried in the middle of the book is an absurd passage.

Read Hebrews 12:2-3 with me. “…who for the joy set before him [Jesus] endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful man, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

 Is Jesus crazy? Did you catch the absurdity of this verse?

It says that before Jesus ever went to the cross, he looked towards the crucifixion with joy.

That statement screams, “You have to be kidding me!”

The Romans cross was the most excruciating and humiliating way a person could die. It was reserved for the worst of criminals. It was so treacherous that women were for the most part exempt from ever being crucified. The man would be stripped naked, beaten, and forced to carry his cross through the streets as people mocked him. By the time he reached his hill of death, he would be nailed to the cross and lifted up for all to see, where he slowly suffocated and died.

Yep, that’s my definition of a “joy-filled” afternoon. A once in a lifetime experience.

Seriously, is there anyone out there who is saying, “sign me up, sounds like a great way to spend my weekend!”

Why would Jesus think such a thing? Where is the joy in the cross?

You. Me. Us. The Church.

We are the joy. As Jesus was looking towards the cross he saw the washing away of our sins and the freedom that he would bring to us – and it brought him joy. He saw the reconciling of his people to himself and the pain, suffering, humiliation and shame was only a means to an end.

Wildly unreasonable and illogical. Sounds like the definition of grace.

What else is “absurd” about Jesus?

Seven Things New Christians Should Know

new Christian

New Christians are like a teenager learning to drive a manual car. You can probably learn to drive stick on your own, but you will stall out, get frustrated and probably want quit. It’s so much better when someone teaches you. You’ll still stall, probably get frustrated but at least someone is teaching you. You can grow as a Christian without help but it is so much better with a little direction.

Billy Graham said, “The decision is 5 percent, following up the decision is 95%. Salvation is free, but discipleship costs everything we have.”

Here are seven things you should know as you begin your new life:


You need God. You need more of Him every day. God speaks to us through His Word. The most significant thing you will ever do in your life is listen. Find a common time and place, open up your Bible and read through a book. Jot down a few observations and what the passage is asking you to do. Feed yourself every day.


Do not listen to this lie that is running through your head: “I’m not ready to share my faith yet.” Just do it. Tell a friend, a sibling, parent or roommate. Tell them about the decision you made and why you made it. You will be nervous scared terrified. Thankfully someone overcame their fears and told you.


Call it what you want: a discipleship, mentorship or “you-know-more-than-me-ship”. Find someone who has been doing this Christian thing for a while and ask them to lead you. It is amazing how much you will grow when you do not have to go at it alone.


Paul said that we would spend our life working out our salvation (Phil 2:12). So, spend your life diving deeper and deeper into the pool that is the Gospel. His death, burial and resurrection is a mystery you will spend your entire life figuring out.


Do not hold yourself responsible for sins Jesus no longer holds against you. You are forgiven. You will still struggle with the same things you did before you met Jesus – that’s okay. You are free to struggle, you no longer have to struggle to be free.


Find people who gather together to worship and hear from His Word every week. The church is the people of God. Love God’s people – even when it is difficult. Worship, learn and grow in community. You need a pastor and a family to hold you accountable. You also need a place to serve. Make it a priority.


Pray. Pray when you make decisions. Pray when you are walking to class. Pray for your friends. Pray for your enemies. Pray when it difficult. Always pray. God speaks to you through the Bible, but he wants to hear from you in prayer.