Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Many do a great job of preaching the Good News and bringing people to Christ. But then what happens? Is there a six week group for new believers? Is there ongoing instruction on Scripture? Do people graduate so that they only need instruction on Sundays?
Many churches and denominations do a wonderful job discipling the flock. Yet, as the director of a Doctor of Ministry program that required a final project for graduation, there was a preponderance of proposed projects that focused on discipleship. As most students were working in the church, it was interesting to me that so many felt that this was a need in their church. It was also interesting that so many viewed discipleship as evangelism, and while evangelism is certainly the first step, it is only the first step.
While all need to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit for their own faith journey, discipleship teaches Scripture while modeling righteous living as a follower of Jesus. And perhaps more importantly, being discipled guides one to develop a relationship with Christ. Learning how to develop this relationship with Christ assists one in developing relationships with others.
Discipleship begins with a covenantal relationship—“disciple” infers a teacher/master and student relationship. The one being discipled is led to look at internal thoughts and behaviors, and change thoughts and behaviors with the goal of them becoming natural, enduring Christian habits. Community is needed in discipleship. Everyone has weaknesses and everyone has strengths. In isolation, those weaknesses can be preyed upon by the enemy of man and lead one into sinful behavior.
You won’t find situations in the Bible where a leader is called forth without a teacher/mentor. Naomi and Ruth were in this relationship. Elizabeth and Mary were in this relationship. Moses had Jethro, Joshua had Moses, Samuel had Eli, and Saul and David had Samuel. The mentoree(s) became the mentor, Jesus discipled the twelve, and Paul went on to mentor many.
While the term “mentor” is not a biblical term, Christian mentoring is dependent upon submission to Christ. Neither the mentor nor the mentoree controls this relationship. The process is characterized by mutual sharing, trust, and enrichment as the life and work of both are changed. The mentor serves as a model and a trusted listener. The mentor relies on the Holy Spirit to provide insight, change lives, and teach through the modeling process. The mentoree learns so that they can then mentor others.
Praying for Women
We look forward to meeting you at upcoming Women In Discipleship events. Please follow us on our social media outlets to stay abreast of what’s happening!