Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." Matthew 28:19
Aaron has a friend who once told me, “To disciple someone, you just need to be a little bit further than they are.” In a time when I was feeling pretty inadequate about discipleship, these words brought a lot of comfort. Discipleship is simple. It is making a commitment to help someone grow in their walk with the Lord. This doesn’t mean that you have to be a religious expert. It really only requires you to be a few steps ahead of them in your walk with Christ. “But I don’t have all the answers!” It okay to not have all the answers. It’s mostly about a relationship and commitment to grow in Christ. As you disciple someone, you will find that it helps you to be less selfish, more humble, and grow closer to God as well.
In order to illustrate what this looks like imagine the following scenario. Beth has been a believer for 6 months and just led her friend, Crystal, to Christ. Although Beth is a fairly new believer as well, she can still disciple Crystal. Each week they choose to meet at 6 am at a coffee shop to go through the word together. They have chosen a study to go through for the next few months. In preparation, Beth reads the passage and thinks of questions, or answers their guided questions before their meeting. This allows her to be more effective in her discipleship. During one meeting, Crystal asks Beth questions that Beth cannot answer. That doesn’t shake Beth. She just challenges them both to look for the answer and resume talking about it the next week. Beth and Crystal also don’t just talk about the bible. They talk about how God is working in their lives and just their general well-being. They go shopping and watch movies together. Discipleship is about more than bible study. It is about doing life with a person, being their biggest cheerleader in their quest to grow closer to God.
Although this has been mainly been directed towards new believers, more mature Christians can go through the same process. You just must make a commitment to invest in that person’s spiritual growth. An investment always takes some sacrifice.You must sacrifice some of your “me” time to help foster growth in this person. The best part of an investment is when you start seeing returns. When you begin to see wisdom, switch to Godly desires, a fire for Christ. Oh, how sweet it is!
Before you begin to disciple someone, first make sure that you are prepared to be committed. Helping someone grow in their walk with the Lord is not something to put off. It is important and should be treated as such. Check your schedule and intentionally set-aside time for your disciple. If you are committed, your disciple is more likely to be committed as well. They can trust that you will be a consistent presence in their life.
You should pray 1) for yourself. Ask God to give you wisdom, discernment, and genuine concern for the well being of your disciplee. 2) pray that God will help your disciplee. Pray that he will reveal more and more of himself him or her. 3) Pray for your relationship as you walk together. Pray against the enemy that wants to destroy that relationship and for growth to happen within it.
You can choose a book, a bible study, or just read through the Bible together. Whatever you choose, be a good steward of the opportunity that the Lord has given to you. Read over your materials. Anticipate questions that may arise and get clarity regarding them.
Your disciple may have questions about the bible or just life in general. Be available when you can. That means that if you are watching tv, text him or her back instead of ignoring the text. Be invested in their life, and take these opportunities to build trust within your relationship.
Discipling someone is about doing life together. Spend time together just shooting the breeze. Go to a sports game or the mall. It doesn't matter what you do, but spend time living as believers together.
I hope that you feel more equipped to disciple someone. Maybe you even want to be discipled. A great place to start either looking for a discple or discplerer is to talk with your church leadership. They should have an idea of who would be a good match for you. I hope that this post pushes you to invest in someone else. It is such a joy to see another person grow in their walk with the Lord.
"Gracious God, Help those who don't feel equipped to discple. Give them everything they need. Bring someone int o their life whom they can discple, and bless that relationship greatly. In Jesus' Name, Amen."