Thursday, March 19, 2009

Air Force Training.

Cory and I were given an opportunity today to attend a character development program for the soon to be graduating cadets from the Air Force. It is called ACES.

We drive by the Academy every day as we head to work, and yet, I had never spent time, or really interacted with any of the cadets till today. I have been pretty intrigued by leadership development, and how we learn. My buddy, Jonathan, is an air force fight pilot, and he has shared how their training, for the most part consisted of him flying against an instructor, until he screwed something up and failed. they would head down as soon as a mistake was made, and spend the rest of the time debriefing what happened, and the mistakes made. day after day doing this.

They learned by failing. then with evaluated experience of what really happened.

The idea is that they will never make that mistake again, and can move into more.

This concept has really made me re-think discipleship. If you look at Jesus way of teaching, 80% of his interactions with his disciples is them doing something wrong. then him explaining what happened, rebuking them, or empowering them, maybe restoring them, like Peter.

I am fascinated to see how much of the time today, was about the older men, many who are retired air force, or instructors, teachers, were sharing their mistakes and failures. many of the activities were experiential, and interactive. they broke the cadets into groups of 3 or 4.

It feels like when I look at discipleship, the way Jesus led his 12, it looks much more like Air Force training then how we are teaching in the church. for the most part, we are given a manual, maybe a book, or spend an hour opening up the word together. we write down the verses, the answers to the questions, pray, and go about our day.

but Jesus takes his disciples out. he pushes them. they fail. time and time again. and he speaks to them, then. he lets them go out, and try. sends out the 72. "you go do it" they cant believe what happened, when they return.

I dont have a lot of answers, but I am intrigued that fighter pilots, probably one of the greatest investments of the military in training, millions of dollars in each man. and flying 15 million dollar jets. they put a lot of hope and faith in these guys, and they do it with money, and with thousands of hours of teachers. I dont know where they developed their program, but the more I hear, the more I listen, it looks a lot like Jesus teaching. makes me wonder if Jesus knew a thing or two about how someone grows, and learns, and their faith is expanded. he could have sat around, and conducted seminars, and large crowd gatherings, but he seemed to pick a few good men (marines) and then pour his life into them, by taking them out. by screwing with their beliefs, with their understanding, letting them fail, and eventually growing their faith to change the world.