The following is the text from my bulletin insert. I am designing a series of weekly inserts to help me better explain the Wesleyan Way of Discipleship. You can download a pdf of this insert at the end of blog.
This week, you are encouraged to engage a church member in the following topic:
Tell another person what Fruit of the Spirit you see evident in his or her life and what Fruit you see lacking.
It’s a good thing to have a friend that is open and honest with you. It’s good to be able to get the feed back that let’s you know that what you are about to do is good, bad, or indifferent.
This week, I need for you to find one of those honest and to the point kind of friends in your life. I need for you to arrange a time when the two of you can get together. Maybe you can get a cup of coffee at Hardee’s. Perhaps, you can drop by his or her home one evening. Perhaps, you could take a stroll along the Greenbelt. Where you meet is not important. What is important is that you make the meeting happen.
When you get together, I want the two of you to engage in some very specific kind of conversation. Get the weather comments out of the way. Put the grandchildren stories aside. I want you to use this time to discuss how God has been moving in your life in response to your seeking to draw closer to God.
Talk about some of the scriptures you have been reading. Are any of them speaking to you in a strong way or a fresh way? Talk about some of the things that have been on your prayer list? What is God putting on your heart to lift up in prayer?
Ultimately, I want you to ask each other about what you see in the other person when it comes to the Fruit of the Spirit. This is where I need you to be honest. This is where that true friend comes into play. It will do neither one of you any good to simply say what you think the other person wants to hear. You need to be honest with each other.
I need for you to tell the other person what you see as the Fruit of the Spirit that is most evident in his or her life. I also need for you to tell your friend what Fruit of the Spirit seems most lacking in his or her life. Your friend should then do the same with you.
At this point, you should still be friends. At this point you should still be able to laugh and smile. However, you should also be pondering what your friend has just said about you.
He or she has just told you what one of your greatest strengths is, as he or she sees it working out in your life. He or she has also given you an area of weakness.
Each of you then needs to say a short prayer for the other person thanking God for the Fruit of the Spirit that is evident in his or her life and asking God to grow the Fruit of the Spirit that might be lacking. Covenant to pray for each other for the next 7 days and then have another conversation to see how things might be different in each other’s lives.
I am just a simple United Methodist pastor. I am an elder in the Holston Annual Conference. This blog is my attempt to share the insights that I have gathered from John Wesley's writings and from others more knowledgable than myself in regards to Wesley. I am not a scholar. Perhaps you could best think of me as a practical theologian.