Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Discipleship

Thinking about asking a woman at church to disciple me. But I am not sure what, exactly, that should look like. Lots of questions swirling around. I think discipleship is Biblical. But I think there is an art to it that hasn't really been passed on all that well.

I think I have been a "discipler" to one person in my adult life. It was for a season, and I don't think I have that role with her anymore. But I enjoyed that time and felt that I was able to support and encourage her in some of the things she was dealing with at the time.

I cannot say that I have HAD a discipler in my adult life. I had one woman who was older than me and had been through more life experiences, who was a very committed prayer and accountability partner for me. But I would not call her a discipler.

Since I am considering asking someone to disciple me, I obviously want a discipler. I think it is something that older women in the church should be purposing to do... but in general, they aren't. So, I can't say I have seen enough (any?) of it happening to know what I can expect from a discipleship relationship.

Here is a description of what I'd like in a discipler:

someone who will be committed to me for an indefinite period of time. Committed to praying for me, but also committed to spending time with me. Someone who is committed to encouraging me in my walk with the Lord. Committed to challenging me in areas of weakness. Someone who sees opportunities for me to grow in Christ and directs me to those things. Encouraging me to try new things; listening attentively as I hash out thoughts with her; cries with me; laughs with me. Helps me wade through motherhood, wifehood, personhood with the intent of seeing me become more like Christ in these areas. Someone who is a good example. Someone to have coffee with. someone to study scripture with, or just read a book with. Someone who calls to see how I am doing even when I am too busy to ask how she is doing. Someone who remembers the "big stuff" and checks in to see how it went... or offers to go with me for moral support. Someone who cares about me and wants to see the me of today become a better me tomorrow.

I realize I am a needy person. And this is where my doubts arise. I don't know if the description I have written above is fair to ask of a discipler. It sounds a lot like the description of a mother. Just picture me walking up to that woman at church saying, "Hi, I was wondering if you would like to be my mother?"

Anyway. What does Biblical discipleship look like? Where do I need to alter my description so as not to bow to my neediness, and hold some poor woman captive to it? Are these desires simply things that I need to trust God for, and not look for other people to meet?

Just wondering if anyone has any advice or thoughts. Is anyone out there currently in a relationship as either disciple or discipler? What does that relationship look like? What do you expect? What do you do together? I'd really like to know.

(I swear, if you give me the title of a book to read, I will buy the book, hunt you down, and beat you mercilessly with it.)

Perhaps gentleness will be the first trait my new discipler will have to tackle with me.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Heather said...

I can not tell you what that relationship would look like, not ever being in one myself. BUT the relationship you described sounds more like a friendship to me.

I have a cousin who does this for me. Unfortunatly, at this point in our lives we live far away from eachother so we can no longer get coffee, but... there are many times that I find myself calling her to ask her questions about scripture, about my role in life. She always has a different take on things than I do. She just sees life differently. It's not so much her advice that I'm seeking. It's more that she acts as a sounding board for me. I bounce ideas off of her. She will never tell me, hey that's not biblical or I think you should do it... rather, she asks questions like, Is it glorifying to God? Do you get a benifit out of it? Things like that. Then I can walk away from the conversation with a clearer picture of the situation.

I don't know if that helps or not.

Tue Mar 07, 02:33:00 PM  
Blogger PEZmama said...

Yeah, Heather, it does sound a lot like a friend. And maybe that is what I want. But I don't want another peer friend. I want a wise older woman friend who has already been through the stuff I am living now. I don't have one of those kinds of friends, and I desire one muchly. It seems like there is so much to be gained from walking in the paths of such women.

Tue Mar 07, 04:12:00 PM  
Blogger Addie said...

We have a 'discipleship' program at our church. It used to be more one on one, but is now mostly done in small groups. However, one young woman didn't want to do a small group so she approached me about working through the material with her.

I would say that I don't live up to all of your wishes in a discipler although I would like to. But we do talk about what is going on in her life, and pray over issues she's dealing with. She's approaching some large decisions in her life right now, and I feel like I can be a sounding board for her. She comes over after the kids are in bed, one night a week. I make some decaf coffee, we work through a little bit of material and talk about what's going on with her.

I say pursue a discipleship relationship with her. I don't know that she will always live up to your expectations but I think you will get a lot out of it. I honestly think God will bless it. Women respond well in relationships which is why I think he really encourages discipleship in this manner among women.

Tue Mar 07, 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger Luisa Perkins said...

I know I am responding to a question you put out into the ether just over a year ago, but I have had several very fulfilling discipleship relationships. I've been blessed enough to be on both sides, and I can tell you that the discipler gets as much (if not more) out of the experience as the disciple. I hope you have found this experience to be as richly rewarding as I have.

Sat Mar 17, 11:06:00 AM  

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