Five Big Ideas for Discipleship


  1. The goal of meeting with someone is transformation not merely information.  When I was young and just starting out, someone asked me, “What do you want to see God do in the lives of your students?”  I was stumped.  I could have given you a long list of all the things I wanted my students to DO:  show up on Thursday nights, join a small group, have their quiet time, attend the fall retreat.  But why exactly?  How would you answer that question?  I realized I needed to take some time to think and pray about my vision and philosophy of ministry.  Do you long for her to know and love Jesus deeply?  Do you want God to have full and unhindered access to her life and heart?  Are you eager for her to develop a heart that trusts him?  Is she slowly maturing to become aware of the needs of others?  Howard Hendricks once said, “When God measures a man (or a woman), he puts the tape around the heart, not the head.”   That is transformation.  If this is true then . . .
  2. Praying for her is the most important part of preparing to meet with her.  Only God can work real and lasting change in someone’s life.  He will, however, kindly use you to lead and guide her if you will talk to HIM, before you talk with HER.   
  3. It is important to cast vision for her.  What do you see that she doesn’t yet see about her life? What are her gifts and strengths?  Where is there growth and change, even if it is small?  Where is God at work?  What do you think God wants to do in her?  What has he already done?  Where is she living with courage?  Who is she becoming?  Say those things out loud to her. 
  4. Listening equals loving.  These two things are so closely related that they are practically indistinguishable to most people.  (My paraphrase of a quote by David Augsburger.)  Cultivate the skill of asking good questions to draw her out.  I have discovered that if I listen well, sometimes students will discover their own answers, or perhaps discover the real question. “My dear (sisters), take note of this:  Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”  James 1:19  
  5. People pleasing and/or perfectionism are toxic in discipleship relationships.  By this I mean your people pleasing and perfectionism!  You must deal with these tendencies in your own life. Here are a couple of warning signs to watch for:  Do you get angry when she doesn’t take your counsel?  Do you feel like a failure when she doesn’t show up to small group or the ministry picnic?  Cautionary note:  She is HIS disciple, never yours.   You cannot strong arm or manipulate someone into spiritual growth.