What do you think of when you hear the term discipleship?
Do you think of going through a curriculum together, or do you just hang out and talk? I think both can be true. Some of the people I have discipled have asked me to specifically go through something structured with them. Others have just wanted to spend time with me and talk about things going on in their lives. Sometimes I do both with them, alternating between something structured and spending time just talking or doing something fun together.
For new believers, it’s important to take them through something structured in order to ground them in their faith and show them where to go in God’s Word when they struggle with things. When I disciple a new believer, I take her through Building Your Spiritual Toolbox (Part 1) to give her a firm foundation in her faith.
For growing believers, I often let the conversation direct me as to how to best spend time with them. I ask them how they’re doing spiritually and in what areas they want to grow and mature. The resources I often use for discipling others can be found in Building Your Spiritual Toolbox (Part 2). If you subscribe to my blog, you will gain access to my Free Resources page, where many of these materials are posted.
Regardless of whether I’m taking someone through a curriculum or just hanging out together, there are four components that are important for practical discipleship to take place.
I will often ask them questions to get a feel for how they’re doing and how I can encourage them. How can I be praying for you this week? I’ve been praying about ________. How’s it going? Any new developments? I’d love to share with you what God is teaching me this week in my times in His Word. How is your time with the Lord this week? What is He teaching you?
Everyone wants to be heard. When someone listens to us, we feel loved and valued. It’s encouraging to others when we give them our undistracted attention and make eye contact. I try not to interrupt them before they’re finished. Sometimes, I will jot down notes while they’re talking to remind me of things to ask them later for clarification.
Be a role model to those we’re discipling. Walk the talk! If we want them to love others, we need to be loving others. The same with integrity, vulnerability, humility, acceptance. Am I living my life in such a way that I would want others to follow my lifestyle and responses?
Do things together. Someone once told me, “Don’t do things alone that you can do with someone else.” Exercise together, have a meal together, run errands together, go shopping together, ride to an event or meeting together. Time together naturally deepens relationships and allows natural conversations to take place.
Discipleship looks different with each person I disciple, but there is one constant – the goal. I want to spur them on to be more like Christ and grow deeper in their walk with Him. I want to help them be all that God designed them to be.
Discipleship doesn’t have to be a rigid “program” but can be practical and intentional as we walk through life together.
What are your thoughts about discipleship? What does it look like for you?