Make Room for Different Kinds of Discipleship

In our efforts to encourage discipleship in the local church, be open to different ways God might choose to influence you.

Sometimes I fear in the semantics debate over discipleship or mentoring, or the strong opinions promoted on how it should be done, we’ve become too prescriptive, and haven’t left room for different ways God might choose to use others in our lives.  I’m going to share with you four pictures of discipleship that I’ve experienced in my own life.  Each one looks different, and each has been an incredible source of growth and encouragement to me. 

 

Discipleship or mentoring is a hot topic in Christian circles.  It seems everyone weighs in on the “right” way to do it.  You can buy books and Bible studies that give prescriptive plans of the right way to disciple.  You need to eat together, you need to go through a book together, you just need to go to the grocery together and watch how I mother my kids. I love the concept of discipleship and have had the privilege to be under another woman’s wing in multiple seasons of life.  But sometimes I fear in the semantics debate over discipleship or mentoring, or the strong opinions promoted on how it should be done, we’ve become too prescriptive, and haven’t left room for different ways God might choose to use others in our lives.  I’m going to share with you four pictures of discipleship that I’ve experienced in my own life.  Each one looks different, and each has been an incredible source of growth and encouragement to me.

Coffee Shop Discipleship

As a freshman in college who sought to figure out what I believed about God and why I believed it, Laura was a precious gift from God to me.  She knocked on my dorm room door one day, talked with me a few minutes and left a tract with me which explained the basics of the Gospel.  My roommate and I laughed about the cheesy title of the tract and I tossed it on my desk.  But Laura came back to my dorm room another day and asked if she could take me out for coffee.  I instantly liked Laura, especially since she took a genuine interest in my life and listened to all my exciting drama with my long distance romance and newfound college experiences.  Laura eventually gave me a Bible (which I offered to pay her for) and invited me to be in a freshman girls’ Bible study.  I went to the study not so much because I really wanted to know the Bible, but because I liked Laura.  God used that Bible study and our meetings together throughout four years of college as a greenhouse of spiritual growth for me.  Laura invited me into her life, and as I helped her prepare a salad for dinner and watched her interactions with her husband, I saw a tangible example of a Christ-centered marriage.  When Laura had her first baby and couldn’t so easily meet me on campus, I would drive to her house, help her with the kids, and watched as she embraced a new season of life and ministry.

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