Stop Motion Space Invaders & Discipleship

June 14, 2013

A couple weeks ago I found myself in an amazing coffeehouse that had set up shop 11 years earlier in an old, single-room, historic church building. The decor and atmosphere was kind of playful. And so it shouldn’t have surprised me to see what I did at the table next to me.

Stop Motion Space Invaders

At first glance it was a bunch of dominos facing down on a table in random clusters. A man and his son were moving them and arranging them ever so often. Then, after some slight adjustments to their position, they’d take a picture with his phone.

It took me a few seconds and then I saw that these dominos were shaped like little space ships. Suddenly I got it and I leaned over and asked, “Are you doing a stop motion space invaders video?” The father-son duo leaned over in excitement and exclaimed, “YES!”

In a sense, what these two were doing is a lot like the process of discipleship. Ok, I know that may seem like a stretch to say. But if you’ll let me, I’d like to explain the similarities I see. And I hope this encourages those who are doing the brave work of discipling others!

1.  It’s the small things that make the big difference.

The very nature of stop motion video is that it’s made up of many small movements. It does no good to move a spaceship the whole way from one side of the table to the other. The single shot is a “whoopdie-freakin-do” moment. But the end result is a high-fiving “Aww yeah!” moment.

In the same way, it’s important to remember how important the little things are in discipleship. The little check-up phone call means a lot. The questions you ask are very important. The times you spend together, as simple or “meaningless” as they may seem, matter. Don’t let anything convince you otherwise, the little stuff is what really makes the big stuff happen!

2.  It takes time to see what is really happening.

It took me some time to figure out what they were doing over on that coffeehouse table. And I think it often takes time to see what’s really going on in someone’s life.

We can be tempted to make quick assumptions and judgments based off moments and situations, but this isn’t always the best. Sometimes we need to wait and see the big picture. Just give it some time. You may see things come together better than you’d even expected.

3.  A good idea of an end product helps the process move along well.

For the video this father and son were making to work, they needed to know what they were going for. They had to have an idea of what the finished product would look like. That way they could break it down and know what different moves they had to make along the way.

If you want to make a change in someone’s life. For instance, let’s stick with the idea of discipleship. If you want to see a person be discipled in following Christ, you need to know what the finished product will look like.

This gives you patience in the hard times. It helps you to know what different moves to make along the way. It guides the process so you can feel confident that you know where you’re going and you can communicate that to them as well!

Jesus called His followers to make disciples. At times it seems like a daunting task. Maybe if we saw it more like making small moves on a table to make a sweet video we’d see it as more do-able and…well…fun!

If you’re passionate about making disciples and would like a book that is a great guide to getting people started on the journey of following Christ, check this out.