Read 2 Corinthians 1:12-24
Have you ever heard the term, “helicopter parents?” It is an expression for parents that “hover over” their kids. Its use spread through the media when American college administrators began using it in the early 2000s to describe the growing number of parents who did things such as calling their children each morning to wake them up for class and complaining to their professors about grades the children had received. Some have gone so far as to report parent accompanying their adult children to job interviews and negotiating salaries with their employers. Needless to say, “helicoptering” is not healthy for the parent or the child. Part of helping a child grow is allowing them the space and freedom they need to act on the lessons and values instilled in them.
When we talk about leading others in discipleship the encouragement is to invite others to follow you as you follow Christ. This means leading a life that is worth imitating and one that can be imitated. It doesn’t mean becoming some kind of helicopter discipler. Yes, I provide accountability for those whom I disciple, but it is not my job to do it all for them. It is not up to me listen to God on your behalf, but I can help you learn to listen for yourself. I can provide a forum to help discern God’s voice over all others and then offer the kind of accountability they need to respond to God’s promptings. What I can’t/won’t do is do it for them. The invitation to others is to follow, the challenge is for them to learn to embrace and live out their identity in Jesus.
In this text, the people in the church at Corinth are apparently upset because Paul’s plans changed. They are having problems, but Paul doesn’t swoop into hover over them and save the day. Instead, he offers his encouragement and some direction, but he allows them the space they need to exercise their faith. He says,
We’re not in charge of how you live out the faith, looking over your shoulders, suspiciously critical. We’re partners, working alongside you, joyfully expectant. I know that you stand by your own faith, not by ours. (2 Corinthians 1:24 MSG)
As you listen to God, who comes to mind that you might invite to follow you as you follow Christ? How can you encourage and challenge, but not hover?