Discipling someone well can be challenging and requires intentionality and time. The reward of watching someone grow in her faith and seeing your own transformation makes the cost worthwhile. Still, there may be times when responding to the latest text or going to that next one-on-one might take extra effort. When you find yourself in that place, consider these 3 ways to keep going in discipleship.
- Be refreshed
As disciple makers, it is vital we take care of ourselves. Just as we hope to point our disciplee to Jesus, we need to make sure we’re spending time in his presence and being refreshed by his love. The cliché that we cannot lead where we have not gone is popular because it’s true. We can’t lead our disciplee to deeper faith or show them how faith can meet movement if we aren’t doing it ourselves. We must spend time daily refreshing and refueling, so we don’t disciple in our own strength and wisdom. Refreshment can be making a cup of tea and reading a Psalm slowly as you savor each sip of tea. Perhaps it’s going on a hike and talking to Jesus about anything because the only goal is connecting with God. Maybe it’s a scenic drive with your favorite worship blasting. If you’re crunched for time, it could be reading a single verse in the morning over and over for five minutes, and then returning to that verse throughout the day on your breaks, contemplating what God is saying through it. The how may vary from season to season, but the consistency of connecting with Jesus shouldn’t.
Perhaps you sense a lag in your discipleship. It could be time to recast vision and discuss again commitment and goals. Maybe you and your disciplee need to change up what you’re doing. Pray and pause and hear from God for specific directions and invite her in the process of discovering what God wants to do with your time together. Maybe you’re reading a book together that just doesn't connect with her. Chuck it! Maybe you’ve been a sounding board for what’s going on in her life, but what she really needs is someone to live out faith with her. Consider her interests and gift mix and find an opportunity to serve with her at church or in your community. A lag could also mean that your time together is coming to a close. Sometimes there is “natural” ending to discipleship—someone moves, the school year ends, or perhaps you joined a program with a start and end date. If, however, your discipleship is more open ended, pray for confirmation for if and when that ending time has come, and then be sure to do #3!
- End Well
It is entirely possible that your time with your disciplee has come to an end. As you pray and connect with God, pay attention to this ending time. When it becomes clear the time is at an end, celebrate with your disciplee. Reflect on the many ways she has grown and cheer her on as she continues in her faith journey. Keep in touch with her periodically and offer prayers. Regardless of where she goes, make sure she knows you will always be a safe place for her if she needs it in the future, that she isn’t alone.
Movement Step: Consider the three steps above. Where are you in your relationship with God and with discipleship? Do you need to be refreshed? Regroup? Is it time to end a discipleship relationship? Pray and ask God for direction for which step to apply this week.