Discipling On Purpose
In my previous post, I discussed the fact that God expects His followers to mentor someone else. Mentoring, or discipling, for the context of this post will be defined as one Christian helping another Christian love Jesus more so that they both become more like Jesus. (I will use the terms discipling and mentoring interchangeably.) Discipling on purpose, therefore is designed to help a fellow believer become more loving. It is designed to help both the mentor and the one being mentored become more like Jesus.
To mentor means doing life with and making yourself vulnerable to someone.
To accomplish this goal, I want to focus on three aspects of Discipling on purpose.
It requires authentic relationship. Mentoring or Discipling requires more than a teacher-student interaction. Yes, there is teaching to take place. However, without relationship, the transferring of facts is going to be all that takes place, and that falls woefully short of the goal of making Disciples of Jesus. There are plenty of folks with head knowledge about Jesus who do not live like Jesus and who do not love like Jesus. If we are truly mentoring someone, it needs to take place in the context of authentic relationship. That means I have to “get real” with the person I am discipling. They will see the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of me. It is uncomfortable for most people, and I believe it is a key inhibitor to true Discipleship. Sharing your “deep, dark secrets” means that you are not going to come across as perfect. I have news for you: everyone already knows that you aren’t perfect. Only Jesus is perfect, and you ain’t Jesus! You must be willing to let the person you are mentoring “in.” To mentor means doing life with and making yourself vulnerable to someone.
It requires doing life together. That is more than a time when you meet with the person you are discipling to study together. Those times are important, but so are the times when you are dining together, playing together, and serving together. THOSE are the times when you get to know each other on a deeper level. That is where the rubber meets the road stuff. Relationship outside of a “classroom setting” leads to a much stronger bond. Jesus didn’t take His 12 Disciples and sequester them in a classroom setting. They traveled together, ate meals together, served together, all the while Jesus was pouring Himself into them. We mentors need to pour ourselves into the folks we are mentoring. Remember, to mentor someone is to take them where you have already gone. As Dr. Lynn Anderson says, “Mentors pull alongside human beings and model behavior, values, and faith through shared life.”
The ultimate goal is to be more like Christ. That should be the ultimate goal of every individual Christ-follower and it certainly is the goal of discipling on purpose. We need to remember that mentoring is of eternal importance. The ONLY thing that will matter 100 years from now is your relationship with Christ. The only thing that will matter 100 years from now in your discipling relationship is that disciple’s relationship with Christ. I am challenged (and a little frightened) to echo the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:1 when he said, “follow me as I follow Christ.” That should be the creed for everyone who dares to mentor someone else in the name of Jesus. That should be the goal for every discipling on purpose relationship! If I am not closer to Christ in my personal walk now than I was a year ago, how could I possibly dare to disciple someone on purpose? A mentor can only take someone where they have already gone.
Bearing these three points in mind, what do we need to do to disciple on purpose? Pray that God leads you to the person He wants you to disciple. Prepare by studying God’s Word so you can effectively teach. Put yourself out there by being authentic and vulnerable.
A mentor can only take someone where they have already gone.
For those who are discipling others, what advice would you add here? For those interested in becoming a mentor, what other questions would you ask here? I would love to continue the conversation with you in the comments section below.