Kingdom lessons from a Drill Instructor

Yesterday Susan and I picked up Valerie and Aaron early in the morning to go to Indianapolis. Sam (our son and Valerie’s husband for those who don’t know) was participating in a state-wide Marine recruit activity.

Several hundred young men and women from all around Indiana came together to test their physical fitness with running 1-1/2 miles, chin ups, sit ups, lifting 30 pound ammo boxes over their head and tug-of-war as a group competition.

Most of them had done these things before in smaller, regional settings; but this was a whole new arena with higher ranking officers present. One new element for the recruits was their first exposure to actual Drill Instructors!

I’ll spare you the details but I will say that the energy level in the gym was very intense and very focused! The Drill Instructors schooled the recruits on the proper manner in which to address them during boot camp. Very impressive and a bit intimidating!

After about 25 minutes of this the Drill Instructors came over and spoke with the family members to answer questions and explain a bit of what they do. One thing that stuck out to me is that the recruits are not allowed to refer to themselves as “I”. This and other similar training methods are designed specifically to help the recruits lose their sense of individuality and learn to function as a single unit.

I think that’s a lesson that we in the church desperately need to learn. I’m not suggesting that we treat each other as recruits and shout at one another nose to nose; but I think we need to work at creative ways that would help us become more aware of following Jesus as a community of disciples.

As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him — you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. ~ 1 Peter 2:4-5

If you have any ideas on how we could encourage more of a community, group mindset within the church leave me a comment!



Filed under Christianity, involvement with the church

6 responses to “Kingdom lessons from a Drill Instructor

  1. You mean aside from the examples in the book of Acts?
    Your headline caught my attention for the main reason that I (oops, there’s that prohibited pronoun!) was a drill sergeant in the Army many moons ago. I still have my hat!
    In any case, I think community, particularly Christian community, is unfortunately the antithesis of life today because of our fast-food, electronic communications nature. Nevertheless, I’ve seen it borne out in simple ways: the friend who called me incessantly after my wife left me to see if I was okay and to talk (he was genuine about it), then my desire to do the same for him a year later after his wife left him. This wasn’t a tit-for-tat thing; me and Steve are genuinely good friends and now much closer because of our common experiences.
    Then there’s the example of the guys in the Sunday School group who laugh and joke then settle down to cake and ice cream or donuts and coffee and listen as Dale teaches the lesson and leads a great discussion (just the guys being genuine).
    Hebrews 10:25 is one of those key verses that warns us not to avoid each other.
    I’m a big proponent of small groups and mentorship, something that is lost in the corporate worship center where people come then go.
    Thanks for the encouragement to think about this. It gives me ideas to write about myself.

  2. Chad Pentecost

    I am getting a flashback of “Full Metal Jacket” when I read about the intensity of the drill sergeants. I hope it is wasn’t quite that bad. Creating a community mindset is something that can only be done if everyone is seeking God’s will not their own. I know that I fall short in that respect. Humility also helps. It tears down walls of ego and judgmentalism. To realize we are all saved by Grace levels the playing field.

  3. a question for you. I have a teen boot camp/mentoring program since 2009. I am searching for a drill instructor to work with us on Saturdays only for now. Would you know someone that maybe interested in talking to me about it?
    Thanks for any imput!


    • Hi Carlos! I don’t know of anyone in the Indianapolis area that might be interested but will mention it to a few friends I have in that area of Indiana and let you know if I get any feedback. I enjoyed looking at your website and very much appreciate the work you are doing with youth! Take care and God bless!

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