By God’s grace there has been a great response of encouragement as people are being convicted to make disciples as Jesus intended. At the same time, there has been a consistent request that I want to address. Many people are saying, ok, I have built conviction based on the scriptures and I am ready to begin to disciple someone but there is one problem, I have never discipled anyone and I have never been discipled. So what do I do? I really would love direction as I desire to disciple others faithfully.
This seems to be the continuous request as people build conviction to disciple. People are bravely, beginning this journey in uncharted territory because either people have not been discipled or people have never intentionally discipled others. So I am excited to hopefully be able to add value in this area.
So let’s go on a journey and see what the first thirty meetings might look like. This series will be most helpful if you as readers ask questions in order for me to fill any wholes that I mistakenly leave open. Help me make this series super informative so the covenant community can feel really adequate as we trust Christ to pour into one another.
- Set Clear Expectations
We start by either having a relationship with someone that we would like to disciple or we desire to build a relationship with someone we would like to disciple. In both cases, building conviction about discipleship by casting vision numerous times is absolutely critical.
Conviction begins with clear expectations. Now I must say, providing clear expectations is not a requirement to see Christ allow for a great discipleship relationship. However, to not set them, many times provides a higher likelihood of miscommunication. Usually, unclear expectations mean no accountability, which sets a breeding ground for subpar discipleship. The result becomes relationships that might feel good, you might learn some things and each of you might affirm each other but most of the time these relationships tend to not have the nutrients to be redemptive.
Therefore, during your first meeting, whether it is a person you lead to Christ or a person who has been a believer for sometime, make clear the journey that you will both be on. For example, before any person is discipled at Mack Ave we walk through what it will generally entail:
Requirements of a person interested in Discipleship:
- Commitment to:
Discipleship (ownership Biblical mandate)
Mack Ave Community Church
Our Community – 48214
- The person must desire to be:
During the expectation discussion let them know what they should expect from you and what you are expecting from them. We suggest these things should include:
- Go over again the Great Commission (please see discipleship defined). This furthers the process of building conviction based on scripture.
- Decide on a time and date you will meet (weekly or by-weekly). Setting an intentional time that you both protect is paramount for consistent growth in training and the friendship.
- Repeat to them that you desire for them to be FAT (See Discipleship Primer).
- Make clear that eventually you would like them to disciple others.
- Make clear that you will ministering together (evangelism and service) with the desire to train them to engage others with the gospel.
Remember the Importance of Community
It is essential at our church that a person is not simply being individually trained and cared for but that they are in a “web of discipleship”. This is why we say discipleship is accomplished through two prongs in our local body 1. one-on-one training and 2. small group (a redemptive community). It is important that the disciple is in a redemptive small group as part of holistically experiencing discipleship. Be clear that this is not an addition to discipleship but this is part of the discipleship process.
2. Learn about each other
After you have gone through your clear expectations, it seems best to conclude your time by asking a few questions that allows you to learn more about him/her:
- What are you most excited about in discipleship?
- Is there anything that makes you anxious?
- What are ways you want to grow in your relationship with Jesus?
In the beginning of the relationship it is important to intentionally learn about your disciple. Learning about them will allow you to be more discerning as you are prayerful about developing them. Also, when a person realizes that you consistently desire to know about them it shows you really care and usually opens the door to honesty, authenticity and intimacy.
3. Extended Time of Prayer
This is a great time to train your disciple on how to talk to God, while at the same time cultivating a deeper personal prayer life. Praying together is one of the best ways to cultivate a love for your disciple. It also helps him/her cultivate their heart for prayer; not to mention cultivating our own hearts! Discipleship is caught more than taught. Your disciple will do what they see modeled to them.
Practically, teach them by leading them in prayer. Tell them what subject you will be praying for. After you pray for that subject tell them the next while in the midst of prayer. At first, it might seem a little corporate but if you focus on talking with God and guiding them in prayer, I promise the Lord will use it and they will be encouraged.
To be clear, these instructions are not only for those discipling new believers. We are all growing in discipline and joy of prayer. Here are a few subjects we suggest you pray for toward the end of your first meeting:
- Thankfulness to Christ
- Your Community
- The Discipleship Relationship
- Pray for the things they said make them anxious
- Pray the Christ would be honored.
All for Christ!