How do I disciple? (Guest Author)

Posted by  | Saturday, October 30, 2010  at 3:06 PM  
I (Hollie) have asked my friend Sarah Rogers to be a guest author for this week on Discipleship. I met Sarah and her husband Matt while in Seminary at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. They graduated and moved to SC in 2007.  The Lord has reconnected us and our families are in ministry together at our church plant, Renewal Church in Greenville, SC. Sarah and I both recently taught/spoke to the women at the Multiplying Disciples Summit that Renewal Church hosted a few weeks ago.  Sarah has such a passion for discipleship, and I knew we could glean from her wisdom and obedience in this area. 

As a believer in high school, growing up in the South, discipleship to me was a class that our youth group participated in to learn about spiritual disciplines.  We read through Survival Kit (an old beginners guide to “how to live like a Christian”), walked through the discussion questions, and then went on with our merry lives.  Not until later did it dawn on me that there was so much I didn’t know how to do as a Christian woman and that God had much bigger plans for me than pats on the back for having the right answers in Bible study classes.  He planned to take my life experiences (good and bad), wisdom and knowledge, and use them for His glory to draw the lost to Himself.  Paul Tripp encourages us in this thought when he says,
“Your life is much bigger than a good job, an understanding spouse and non-delinquent kids. It is bigger than beautiful gardens, nice vacations, and fashionable clothes. In reality, you are part of something immense, something that began before you were born and will continue after you die. God is rescuing fallen humanity, transporting them into His kingdom, and progressively shaping them into His likeness—and He wants you to be part of it.” (Paul Tripp, Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, 20)
How can we join God as He “rescues fallen humanity, transports them into His kingdom, and progressively shapes them into His likeness”?  Through one-on-one discipleship.  I say one-on-one because the larger the group (as in a class setting), the less likely you are to get to the heart of those you are discipling.  We are after more than behavior change, we are looking for lasting change in our words, choices, and actions.  To accomplish that type of lasting change, we must target the heart in discipleship. (Matt. 23:25-26)  So how do you do this as you disciple the “younger” woman God has placed in your life?
1)      Loving her –In 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8 Paul describes his discipleship relationship as “gentle…like a nursing mother caring for her children…affectionately desirous…very dear.”  In this type of relationship you love her enough to spur her on to look more and more like Jesus.  This may mean there are times where hard conversations must be had but your relationship, built on love, trust, and mutual respect is already established so those times will produce good fruit that will last.
2)      Know her – Many times we assume we know people based on what we know of their behaviors, hear in their conversations, or hear from the perspectives of others.  But truly knowing a person means knowing their heart – What does she believe?  What are her goals?  What are her hopes, dreams, values and desires?  Knowing means being able to predict what she thinks and feels in a given situation.  Only when you truly know her can you guide her to the root of her sin, help her look ahead in situations where she may be tempted to sin, and ask critical questions to get at her heart instead of questions that stay at the surface.
3)      Speak truth to her–Paul didn’t love the Thessalonians in a conceptual way, but he loved them enough to speak truth into their lives: “For you know how, like a father with his children, we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and charged you to walk in a manner worthy of God, who calls you into his own kingdom and glory.” (1 Thess. 2:11-12)  To target the heart of the woman God has placed in your life you MUST speak truth to her!  Bring God’s truth to bear on her heartaches, successes, and every other aspect of her life.  Let her see herself in the mirror of God’s Word so that lasting change will take place!  In Titus 2, Paul actually commands us to “be reverent in behavior, not slanderers, or slaves to much wine…to teach what is good, and so train the younger women…”  In order to teach and train, you must open your mouth and speak hard truths, encouraging words, and your own life experiences so that she will learn how to “love her husband and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to her own husband.” (Titus 2:3-5)
4)      “Do” with her– Lastly you must help her DO what she has learned by applying the insights God has given her to her daily life and relationships.  Model and encourage:
a.        Repentance – turning from both behavioral sin and heart sin and turning to God
b.      Belief – in the promises of God through Scripture concerning our past, present, and future
c.       Obedience – by putting off sin and putting on righteousness in specific ways (Eph. 4)
Our goal in discipleship is to be more like Jesus, but also to draw a watching world to Jesus.  Paul encourages discipleship to teach and train the younger women “so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us…so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior”.
“The world is desperately seeking someone to follow. That they will follow someone is certain, but will that person be one who knows the way of Christ, or will he or she be one like themselves leading them only on into greater darkness?  This is the decisive question of our plan of life. The relevance of all that we do waits on its verdict, and in turn, the destiny of the multitudes hangs in the balance” (Robert Coleman, Master Plan of Evangelism, 108)
Much of this was adapted from Amy Chasteen’s notes “Why Discipleship”

1 comment:

Hugh & Hollie Carson said...

Good word Sarah! Thank you!

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