We must be careful that we don’t put too much faith in a process and too little faith in the God who sits over the process. That’s industrialization – that if we simply have the right raw ingredients, then follow the right steps, then out comes a mature follower of Jesus. Like an assembly line.
Samuel Slater was born into an English farming family. He got a basic education, but at age ten began working at a cotton mill. He was later apprenticed to the owner of the mill and gained his greater education in how the machinery and the system worked.
In his 20’s, he learned that Americans were interested in developing similar machines. But there were some “hard feelings” about the whole revolution, and so Slater memorized as much as he could and left to cross the ocean to New York with a secret plan in mind. He built a factory from memory in order to produce spindles of yarn. Slater, today, is known as the “Father of the American Industrial Revolution” because things obviously took off from there.
Factories, and industrialization, spread in rapid fashion. Before then, the whole idea of “going to work” was not even in scope because in an agricultural society there was no separation between home and work. Everything changed. Everything was influenced from the food we consume to the hours we eat and even our overall perspective on life. The lenses through which we view the world changed.
The lens through which we view discipleship has changed.
We tend to think of spiritual growth through the industrialization lens. There are systems, processes, and plans. There are steps, progressions, and logical trajectories. None of these things are bad. Or wrong. Or unnecessary. And yet the perspective in which we might approach discipleship might be all wrong. That’s because disciples are grown; they aren’t manufactured: