Discipleship In The Hood Series: “Do You”Posted: April 21, 2014
When it comes to discipleship in the hood, there is one important thing one must know and consider. You need to be yourself. In the hood, no one likes a pretender or someone who is trying too hard to fit in. In the hood, this is seen as weak…not being strong enough to be your own person. This is different from becoming all things to all people. The concept here is be yourself as you are trying to find common ground with those you are serving.
I remember looking for someone in the hood and couldn’t find him. But as I walked in the store looking for him, his friend was there…high as a kite (intoxicated with drugs). So I proceeded to share the gospel with him after asking him bluntly, “Man are you high, dog?” I shared with him how the Lord saved me and empowered me to stop drinking. I left the shop and the next day, word got out that I offended him. Being a sensitive-type guy, I went back to the gentleman and said, “Man, if I offended you by how I said what I said, I am sorry. Was there anything I said that rubbed you the wrong way?” To my surprise, his response taught me something valuable! “Man, you didn’t offend me dude. You cool with me. You was just blowin’ (discouraging) my high that’s all. Man, you keep doin’ you (be yourself) and you will be fine. You straight (okay) with me ”, was his response. Right there, in that moment, I understood that it was okay to be myself in any situation.
So what does being yourself look like? If you are naturally a quiet person, there is no need to get loud around people who are loud in communicating. If you normally speak “proper english”, there is no need to speak “slang”. The truth of the matter is our personalities have been shaped by God. We are quiet, loud, personal, funny, not so funny, observant, not so observant, go along with the flow, stickler to detail, aggressive, laid back people because the Lord has used circumstances and events in our lives to shape us into the people He has made us to be. And when we come into environments with people who act, think, or process differently than you, you can be confident (in the Lord) that who you are is cool (okay).
It is so important to be who God has made you to be in order to be effective in discipling men and women in the hood. But, in order to do this effectively, you must be able to know, “who you are”. It is very difficult to “do you” (be yourself) when you don’t know “who you are”. And when you don’t know who you are, those in the hood will not be interested in following you as you follow Christ.