It’s the buzz word around ministry these days. We move our students from large group time to small group time to discipleship. We want to see student’s grow in their relationship with the Lord and this is how Jesus modeled it for us. Disciples followed Him everywhere; listening, watching, and learning His ways.
There are so many models, curriculum and even conferences focused on the topic. It got me thinking about what it is and what it isn’t. So let’s play the game “Two Truths and A Lie” when it comes to discipleship. However, I would like to give it a little spin. Here are three lies and one truth on this important topic:
It’s About Hanging Out
I’ve heard it said often that what matters is just picking a student up and spending time with them. After all, that’s what Jesus did. He spent every moment of the day allowing His disciples to be with Him watching and learning, so therefore if we just spend time with a student then that’s enough right? No. Jesus was always intentional. There was a reason why He went where He did, why He responded the way He did and even talked to the people He did. We have reduced discipleship sometimes to going to the mall and being together or watching students play sports. If the goal is to watch you live your life for Christ and have them model it, are you paying attention to what you do when you do it? Have you considered premeditating questions before you go into a time with students? What’s the goal for being in this discipling relationship? Think before you go. If it’s to help them become a deeply devoted follower of Christ, then think through every situation. Be intentional.
It’s About a Program
I am a huge fan of curriculum and conferences. I think both are great for aiding us in the discipling journey. They often act as catalysts to a deeper conversation.YET, investing in and making a disciple of a student is not a once a week, hour long, one-on-one Bible study alone. I have seen groups who have a discipleship program where the goal is to just meet with your disciple once a week and talk Bible. It’s also not talking to students about topics that are important in knowing Jesus. That’s preaching. Often students are given few places they feel safe to wrestle with their faith and come to understand who Jesus is. They need to build a relationship where they can ask the hard questions. This goes beyond any programming.
It’s About Replacing Parents
Well meaning volunteers often forget to build relationships with parents in this process. Every student who is desiring to be in a discipleship relationship doesn’t want to run away from home. Sometimes they are looking for additional voices to help them along. Make sure you are talking to parents about why you want to spend time one-on-one with their child, or in a smaller group than usual. In a day and age with more and more “stalker” types sometimes an extra adult hanging around your child can seem creepy, not refreshing if you don’t understand the true reason why they are there.
Anyone Can Disciple
Yes. However, take into account where your relationship is with Jesus and why you want to engage with a student. The goal is they learn what a walk with Christ looks like by seeing it in action. What are they reproducing? It does not mean you have to reach as near perfection as possible. However, it does mean you have a heart that seeks the Lord and just wants to be His. It’s a good thing (and Biblical) to help students grow in the Lord. Just make sure you are offering more of Jesus than yourself in the relationship.
Discipleship is the way Jesus asked us to grow the church I believe. It’s not just about understanding who to follow, we each need to learn HOW to follow Christ.Now does it mean we have to spend every minute of the day with a student? No. It is merely about them understanding more clearly what it means to belong to the Lord, oh and a student has to actually want this. None of the 12 were dragged along. They wanted to be there. The goal is to have a generation who understands living for the Lord starts today.