I think most of us are willing to disciple someone; we just need some basic steps to follow in helping other people grow. Here are some principles to remember as you start meeting with another person with the goal of helping him or her grow spiritually.
Three principles for basic disciplemaking:
- Remember, it’s a relationship, not a project. You are not building a deck or making lasagna! Those of us who are more task-oriented can forget that this is a friendship that is best cared for with patience, flexibility, and love.
- Start where the person currently is spiritually. You may have a a great plan, but helping people follow Jesus means starting where they are and adjusting to the current situation as necessary.
- Always incorporate prayer and the Bible. God is the one that draws people to Himself and is the one who ultimately changes their lives. Every time you get together, share something (casually) from the Scriptures that God has been teaching you, or something that relates to your friend’s current situation. Paraphrasing is just fine, and just sharing a biblical principle is good, too. Always pray for the person and your/their current situation in life. Most of following God is best “caught, not taught,” meaning those we are discipling will learn by our modeling. Also, remember, when you first start meeting someone in a discipling relationship, they may have never prayed out loud with someone else. Don’t force it—ask them to let you know if they want to pray.
Remember my friend Josh—the young sergeant I began meeting with after a God-scheduled interaction at Chipotle? Our discipling relationship took months to get on track. He had to leave town over the holidays. One of the first times we met, I asked him if he’d like to see a 30-minute illustration that summarizes the message of the Bible (The Bridge™ Illustration). He said yes. I shared it with him and asked him if he had a relationship with God, and he said no. But he was eager to keep meeting after Christmas. I was glad to hear that, since I enjoyed hanging out with him! Each time we met we talked about life, I would interject things from the Scriptures to encourage him, and I would close in prayer.
Is there someone you sense would be open to having your help to grow spiritually and deepen in their faith? Have you considered asking them to get together for lunch, with the goal of having a spiritual conversation and seeing if they’d be open to meeting regularly (and flexibly, based on their schedule)?