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?