By: Amy Hornbuckle
I am one in a small pool of people who refuse to use a virtual calendar. I am convinced I can more clearly see the overview of my week, month, and year in a physical book. There’s just something about it that a computer can’t mimic. Lately, I’ve discovered the lost art of mini-sticky notes. My planner is full of them. I use them until I am certain a task or meeting is permanent, at which point I remove the note and write it down.
In a similar fashion, I’ve started using these mini-sticky notes to keep track of who I want to pursue each week. Since I work for my church full time, I consider it a massive part of my job to know our people. It’s a blessing and a gift, to spend so much time in the lives of those in my community.
The other day as I was evaluating my month – the people I wanted to reach out to and the things I need to accomplish – I felt a sudden urgency for such planning. Without my notes and intentional consideration, I wouldn’t remember anything. I would most surely miss meetings and fellow sisters would go unnoticed.
If I can’t remember a meeting or a task without writing it down, how much more do I need to write down the truly important things? The things about the people in my life that demand thoughtfulness and follow up? When we say we’re going to pray for something and choose to write it down we actually do pray – we follow up. We are limited creatures. To be a faithful, fruitful follower of Christ, we must be intentional. We must choose to pursue and show up for the people in our lives.
Jesus was the perfect example of this.
As we look to His earthly ministry and His fellowship with the twelve disciples we see a daily pursuit. Jesus devoted His time, teachings, and energy to the twelve. He poured into them over and over and He knew them better than they knew themselves. As we pick up our cross to follow Jesus, this cannot be something we overlook. We are designed as a body of believers – not just individual believers – to pursue, equip, teach and rebuke one another in love. We need a daily reminder and daily fellowship that points us to Who we follow.
But Jesus was not limited in His capacity. Meaning, He knew His people. He understood them. He didn’t forget them – or anything for that matter. He is the perfect example of a discipler, brother, teacher, priest, and more. His disciples were not an accident. They were prayerfully chosen and strategically taught. What can we learn from this?
We can learn perspective on our limited and finite ability to pursue and love by stepping away from justifications and into intentionality. A good question to ask is: “What is the reason for a lack of discipling relationships in my immediate circle?” I think every single one of us will experience some form of conviction for the energy and time we are selfishly withholding from others.
What does this have to do with sticky notes and a calendar? What I realized in that moment of urgency is that the way I can best pursue someone is remembering them – their history, their testimony, their pain points, their prayer requests, their temptations – which then allows me to follow up.
The Art of Follow Up
I wish I had the mental capacity to store every ounce of information I’m given. But to be honest, I have a hard time remembering family birthdays. I write them down because I love them and want to ensure that on that day I can act on that love. Why is it natural for us to record that information, but not our friend’s testimony? Or temptations? Jesus had twelve disciples who He pursued daily – if I have twelve people I am pursuing daily, I am bound to forget something monumental in their life, which most likely means a missed opportunity to show up for them and love them well.
There’s something marvelous about seeing someone in our life recall a seemingly minute detail about a struggle or victory months, weeks, or days after it occurred. It’s healing for us to see them genuinely ask for an update; genuinely pursuing our heart and seeing how we’re doing.
Let’s get more specific. A young woman you’re discipling is struggling with reading the Bible and asks for accountability. At that moment it becomes our job to remember and follow up. The details of the follow up will look different depending on the relationship, but the point is to follow up. How much more are we likely to do so if we record it, than if we were to simply “store” it in our mind? Our mind that is limited and finite, and constantly consuming information and details?
We have a beautiful responsibility to follow Jesus in the specific ways He pursued His people. This is one of them. I often hear the excuse of forgetfulness for a lack of community depth. Depth requires a long pursuit of shoveling through the mud. We do not reach it with one swing. And if it requires a long pursuit, that suggests weariness and moments of rest. Being intentional with remembering will fight against our finite mind in those tiresome seasons where we are likely to lose momentum and potentially give up. We must keep shoveling. Every dig is chiseling away the muck this wicked world lays on our back and clears a path to the core.
That is the beautiful gift of relationships. All of us, brothers and sisters, are lending a hand, holding a shovel, clearing the path, showing the way, and pressing on towards Christ. The art of remembering and follow-up is fuel to that vessel.
So, I’m going to begin writing more things down.
Amy grew up in St. Louis, Missouri but now lives in Florida with her husband of 9 months. She is a proud dog mamma, and loves taking long walk in the midst of God’s creation. She works as a Children’s ministry director, operations manager, and Women’s ministry and discipleship. Her true passion is to equip women of faith through both writing and speaking.