In part 1 of this Discipleship blog series, I said that “every Follower of Christ CAN and SHOULD be in a discipleship relationship with someone else, from teens on up.” In part 2 I shared the 3 Basic Keys for having a discipleship relationship with others.
In the final part of this Discipleship blog series, I want to share some specific and practical ways to go about living those 3 Basic Keys out in our daily lives, so that we can make sure we have those discipleship relationships in our lives. And I think that the most natural way to go about doing that is to simply share what I do in my own life. Being in a discipleship relationship begins with us sharing our life with others, so me sharing what I do in my life fits perfectly.
There are 4 main ways I personally go about being in different types of discipleship relationships with other people.
The first way is in my job. I am a Student Ministry Pastor, so it’s a very natural place for me to begin. As a Pastor to students, I should be seeking to be in discipleship relationships with them in different ways. A few different ways I do that are:
1. Student Leadership – My ministry is a Student Led ministry, so Student Leadership is a crucial part of my ministry. I meet with Student Leaders, both for planning and discussion of the ministry, but also for the purpose of developing and growing those students. We all read through a book together, and then in our meetings we discuss what we can apply to our lives individually as well as corporately as a Leadership Team. I also stay in regular contact with them individually, making sure all is good and meeting with them as needed. This is discipleship in both a small group setting as well as an individual setting, both in formal and informal ways.
2. Teaching – I am very intentional in my teaching to challenge the students toward specific action steps that will help them grow in their faith. We also incorporate a lot of Small Group discussions in the lessons, getting them to not just listen but also to talk and discuss. This is discipleship that is in a formal large group setting, but it is discipleship non-the-less.
3. Relational Ministry Actions (RMA’s) – I am a relational person, and I also know that building relationships with students is key in Student Ministry. So I try to be very intentional in meeting with students either one on one (if a male student) or in a small group setting (either to connect with a few at a time, as well as to be able to have this connection with female students…I do not meet one on one with female students as a male leader, that is not smart). This develops discipleship relationships in both individual and small group settings.
The second way is in my personal life. I am very passionate about seeing students grow up to become men and women who are falling in love with God more every day, and living a Godly life no matter what career or life path they choose. Because I am a male, this again leads me to spending more one on one time with guys. I try to meet with a few guys who are out of high school, doing studies and just sharing life together. Recently I was meeting with 3 guys weekly and going through the book “The Measure of a Man”. Right now, 2 moved away for college, so I am still meeting with 1 on a weekly basis. I also keep my eyes open for any other guys I can begin a discipleship relationship with. This is discipleship in a more formal setting, and is usually one on one.
The third way is my neighborhood. My wife and I try to be very intentional about connecting with and building relationships with some of the families around us in our neighborhood and community. This is for the purpose of being there for them, developing good relationships with our neighbors, and hopefully creating a discipleship relationship with them on some level. This requires my wife and I to make sure we are out in our neighborhood and community with these neighbors, in order to build relationships that could lead to an opportunity to invite them to something at church, help them if they are in need, or developing deeper relationships with them. This leads to the type of discipleship that is in a very informal setting, and is generally one on one.
The fourth way is in my own family. I see my children and wife as people I have a responsibility to disciple as they grow up. This is something that is command throughout scripture, and is extremely important. In fact, I believe that if I’m not doing discipleship with my own family, I should not be doing discipleship with others outside of my family…because I should be practicing this idea of discipleship at home first. I recently wrote a blog specifically about this called We must spend time In God’s Word as a family that shares much more detail.
There are many ways we can be intentional about being a part of discipleship relationships with the people around us. My prayer is that you would find different ways to go about it in your own life. All who are Followers of Christ are called to be in discipleship relationships, so I encourage you to look for those discipleship relationship opportunities that are around you.