This is Part 2 of an ongoing series on one to one discipleship.
Over the last year many people at Salem have invested their time in discipling relationships in order to spur each other on to love and good deeds. I have had a bunch of questions come my way about these relationships. Here are six that come up more often than not.
Where Do We Meet?
Anywhere! As long as you have a place where you can focus and have an open, honest conversation, you are good. Sometimes it is good to go for a walk around the lake enjoying God’s creation. You might not be able to have an in-depth Bible study, but a lot of times you will be more open to deeper spiritual matters. It is amazing how people open up when they are focused on other things. Go to a coffee shop, sit outside on a bench in downtown. Mix it up. Sometimes going to a restaurant is great, other times it is tough because you have a waiter come by every couple of minutes. Go where you are comfortable.
One of the best places to meet is in your own home. It is great for the person you are discipling to see how you live. Go ahead and show them your dirty dishes and your lived in home. Let your kid run around in their diaper – that is what they do on any other normal day. Show them that you aren’t perfect. Allow them to get to know you as well. Any place where you are sitting and talking about the Lord is a sacred space.
How Long And Often Do We Meet?
It is good to set expectations on time for your meetings. This helps both parties know what to expect. An hour to an hour and a half is more than enough time to open up the Bible, pray, talk about life, and encourage someone. Obviously, there are times when you will need more time. Be fluid and go with that. If you are able to give a little extra time, it wall pay off big in other ways.
I like to meet with the people I disciple every other week. Oftentimes if you meet with someone too often, it can grow stale. At the same time, if you meet with someone too infrequently you can grow distant. If you are going to commit to this, you need to commit to meeting at least one time a month. There will be times when you will need to meet more based on what is going on in life, but never less than once a month.
Who Is Responsible For Setting The Meeting?
It is the responsibility of the one being discipled to set up a meeting time. This shows that the person truly wants to be discipled. If they are not willing to do this, they might not be willing to be discipled. Put a little responsibility on them. There will be times when the person discipling will have to reach out – but the hope is in time and with clear expectations, the person being discipled will set the schedule.
What Do You Do In Between Meetings?
Just like with any other relationship, there needs to be constant communication in order for it to flourish. The discipler needs to make sure that they are praying constantly for the person being discipled. Look at Paul’s prayers for the churches and pray like that. In Colossians 1:9-12 Paul prays for the church that they would be filled with knowledge and wisdom, that they would walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, and that they would be strengthened with all power. This is how we should be praying for our people.
A discipler needs to make sure they know what is going on. A simple text asking about life or telling them that they are being prayed for goes a long way. We are to carry each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). This might mean we walk with them through difficulties and spend more time with them than in a typical month. But, that is one of the reasons the church exists.
What Do I Say?
Surprisingly, not much. The person who is discipling should speak no more than 30% of the time. You are not the answer to all of their problems, Jesus is. Though you might feel like a counselor from time to time, you are not that (unless you have a degree, then I take it back). The Holy Spirit is the ultimate counselor. You are not all wise, the Father is. Let us rely on the Triune God to lead and guide us. We are to be quick to hear and slow to speak (James 1:19). We need to allow the people we are discipling to say all that they need to say. They deserve to have someone hear them out, not tune them out because we are thinking of a response. As we listen, we are able to ask God for wisdom from above – and he will provide it (James 1:5)!
Another key is to make sure that your conversations are focused on Jesus. It is incredibly easy to have an hour go by just talking about sports or movies. It is the responsibility of the discipler to be intentional in keeping the conversation centered on spiritual matters. We should talk about day-to-day life, but it should all point back to Christ.
What Do We Do When We Meet?
There are so many different things that you can do when you disciple someone. Because everyone is different, it is key that you tailor your meetings to meet the key needs of the individual you are discipling. Here is a quick overview of different elements you can have in a typical meeting. This is not an exhaustive list. In the next installment of this series, we will take an in-depth look at these different elements.
- Prayer – each meeting should begin and end with prayer.
- Conversation – it is good to catch up on what is going on in each other’s life. If you are a good listener, you will be able to pick up on many ways that the gospel is, or should be, impacting the other person’s life.
- Bible study – it is always good to focus on Scripture together.
- Bible memorization – find verses that speak to what the person you are discipling is going through.
- Accountability – you have to be willing and ready to ask the tough questions.
- Serving – there might not be a better way of discipling someone then by serving alongside them.
- Evangelism – set an example by sharing your faith with those around you.
- Testimonies – share your story and help them practice sharing theirs.
- Book studies – there are some really great books (and even more terrible ones) that you can go through together.
- Spiritual disciplines – the disciplines are tools that we have to grow in our faith. They are essential to the Christian faith.
Have you been praying for who you can disciple or who can disciple you? Maybe it is time to start asking around. We are in this together, let us begin to be intentional in the way that we do this.