If someone asked me what my passions are, discipleship would be one of my top passions. Discipleship is teaching someone to follow Jesus. It is doing life with a person (they seeing your routine interactions with others and how you live your life) and walking alongside them in their relationship with Christ. Discipleship has no age requirements or limits on spiritual maturity.
Discipleship is important to me because Jesus commanded it. “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them…. and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:16-20 NIV. Jesus did not say, “go and make converts of all nations, He said “go and make disciples.”
I was in my mid 20’s when a lady from my church asked if I wanted to be discipled by her. We had been co-leading a college girls’ bible study together. I was thrilled that she asked me as I looked up to her immensely.
She and I went through a study called Biblical Womanhood. After that study, Donna asked me what other areas I was interested in going through. We went through a study on anger. When we would meet every two weeks, Donna asked me about my life and asked how she could pray for me. Since Donna was married and had four children, I sincerely valued the wisdom she shared as a wife and mother and the time she spent nurturing my relationship with Christ.
The impact of prayer I have especially treasured from the ladies who have discipled me. When specific prayers are answered in regard to my walk with the Lord, I know the people in my life who are faithful in praying for me played a pivotal role in that answered prayer.
As I did trainings on how to disciple someone myself, the example of Paul and Timothy came up often. Paul instructed Timothy to find men who were faithful and would continue to teach others about Christ (2 Timothy 2:2). Some of the attributes to look for in someone to disciple are someone who is faithful to meet, available to meet regularly, and someone who is willing to learn and is teachable.
One key lesson I learned in discipling others is that every person you disciple is unique. What works for one person may not work for another. I am used to going through spiritual studies with the girls I disciple but others desire a less formal time together. That is okay! Both approaches have still been fruitful! There are also seasons of life that are busier for some than others. Meeting them at routine places for them such as the grocery store or at home helps. Discipling can occur concurrently with meals being cooked or laundry being folded!
When you disciple someone, a crucial objective is for your investment to extend beyond one person. Encourage the person you are discipling to disciple someone else so that others can grow in maturity in Christ. I once watched a video about reaching the world with the gospel in just 34 years. If every Christian discipled two different people a year and those people did the same, everyone on earth would hear about Jesus in just 34 years. Isn’t that pretty cool?
I disciple someone today and we do the same things Donna did and my current mentor, Betsy, does with me. We go through a study, I ask how life is going for her, and I ask how I can pray for her. For her and I, doing life together looks like being in the same community group together and me visiting her at her home while she cares for her husband and child. Discipling her to follow Jesus has been a great encouragement to me.
Who in your church or communities have you noticed may desire or be open to discipleship that you can disciple? Who is a person you look up to in their walk with the Lord that can disciple you? What young person in your life can you have an impact on and be intentional with in regards to their spiritual and personal growth? Who in your family can you “spur on to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24) or vice versa? Who is watching your life? What investments can you make today that will impact the Kingdom?
Be encouraged. The discipleship relationships you form today God will use for His gospel to be made known!
Please find below a few resources on discipleship:
Downline Ministries: https://downlineministries.com/
Real-Life Discipleship by Jim Putman
Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples by Francis Chan and Mark Beuving