I recently read the book Organic Mentoring by Sue Edwards and Barbara Neumann. (I highly recommend this book.) The premise of Organic Mentoring is that previous methods of discipleship may not be as effective for the younger generations today. Randomly pairing up a disciple and discipler isn’t necessarily the best method, and the younger generations tend to prefer less structure and more of a natural and organic approach.
As our women’s Bible study read and discussed this book together, some of my “older” women felt a burden lifted – they didn’t have to come up with a structured curriculum to take someone through. However, my younger women shared that they still want some structure and accountability.
It’s important to recognize that each individual is unique in what she’s looking for in a discipleship/mentoring relationship. When someone asks me to disciple her, I ask several questions:
- What are you looking for in this relationship?
- What do you want me to do with you in our time together?
- Where are you spiritually? A new believer? A stagnant believer? Or a strong believer who wants to be challenged and to go deeper?
- Is there a specific area in which you want to grow?
- What is your goal for our time together? What do you want to see as a result of this discipleship relationship?
- Do you want something structured or more informal?
Discipleship looks different for different people, depending on where they are in their spiritual journey and where they want to go spiritually. Some want a structured format, while others just want you to hang out with them and talk. Some want to meet every week; others are content to meet periodically. Is one way better than another? It depends on the individual and what she’s looking for.
The goal of discipleship is to help that person grow to spiritual maturity in Christ. The method may look different for each person.
As a discipler, what do you envision the discipleship relationship looking like? As a disciple, what are you looking for? Do you tend to want something more structured and scheduled, or informal with no set schedule or plan? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.