How do I find someone who wants to enter into a discipleship relationship?
First, pray. Pray God will send you a woman to disciple. Remember, He is in control and He already has someone in mind.
Second, be on the lookout. She may be in your church, or work, or a neighbor.
Pray, watch, prepare, and wait.
How to Prepare
Have a plan.
God is a planner.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
the plans of his heart to all generations (Ps.33:11).
Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand (Prov. 19:21).
So, imitate God. Be a planner and prepare for your meetings.
Part of planning is to structure your time together. If you don’t you might find your hour, or however long you are meeting, gets away from you and you haven’t cover what you planned to and it wasn’t Holy Spirit planned.
Many women like the 15/30/15 minute model.
15 in Catching up
30 in Bible study and application
15 Wrap up
Your First Meeting
The time has arrived, your first meeting. What do you do?
The first meeting is about getting to know each other – if you don’t already, but it is also about laying the ground rules.
What are ground rules?
You need to agree upon the details of your discipleship relationship so that later on there won’t be any misunderstandings or disappointments.
This is so important. I speak from experience. I had one relationship that got away from me because I didn’t do what I am urging you to do. She took control of the relationship because I didn’t lead us in clarifying what our relationship was going to accomplish. I didn’t clarify why we were meeting. She wanted to study a certain book together and I said okay before I knew what it was. When I saw it I realized it was voodoo disguised as Christian literature. Finally, I woke up. I had to restart and clarify and end the relationship because our goals were not the same. I repented to her and the Lord and determined with the Lord’s help I would never go through that again.
To begin this process of laying the ground rules, start by asking questions. This is how you find out what’s in her head, heart, what she is thinking and doing. I read once that the person who asks the questions controls the conversation. Prepare some in advance. That’s planning again.
Here is a suggested outline:
Agree upon the definition of discipleship.
Clarify what being discipled means.
Ask her what she thinks it means. Why and for what reason are you meeting?
Address any misunderstandings now to avoid a lot of problems later.
You might also ask:
What do you want from me?
How do you see our relationship? Tell her your vision. Hopefully, they are the same. If not, discuss how you might reconcile the two. If you can’t, in love, decide not to pursue your relationship.
Is there a specific area of your walk with the Lord you would like to work on?
If I see sin in your life or poor judgement, how do you want me to handle it?
Are you committed to spending sometime during the week on what we are going to be studying?
Are you able to commit to a certain time and day to meet together?
If you have time (if not, save it for the second meeting) ask her about her salvation experience. How she came to know the Lord. Don’t take anything about them for granted. They may be a member of the church but not a Christian. You may think they are quite spiritual because they are involved in this ministry or that, when in fact they are still babies in the word busy playing with blocks instead of learning to read. In other words, they are immature in their faith.
Determining their spiritual maturity level will help you plan how you can best help her grow and what to study in your time together.
Ask her to tell you about her church background. In what ministries has she served? What does she love about going to church? Is there anything that makes her uncomfortable about church?
In your meeting you will need to cover the following.
- Tell her about yourself. If you have time (if not save it for the second meeting), give her a brief testimony of your salvation.
- Talk about what you will study together.
- Be sure she has your contact information.
- Clarify when you will meet again.
- Ask her how you can pray for her.
Deciding if it’s a good fit
If what she is looking for is not what you hope to offer, then the relationship is probably not a good fit. But, if in your first meeting, you make agreements and you can see she is serious and excited about being discipled, then you will find great joy and motivation to pour out into her life.
Bible Study Materials
In Titus and 1st Tim., Paul is very strong about sound doctrine. He tells his two young disciples, that they must teach the Christians sound doctrine so they don’t float off in error or be seduced by false teachers.
You also must do the same.
It is God who grows us.
So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth (1 Cor. 3:7-11).
Discipleship is about letting the word transform us. It is the word that changes us through the power of the Holy Spirit. It is not our words but the Lord’s words.
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).
If you are going to go through a book of the Bible, for someone new to the faith or an immature Christian I suggest you go through the book of John or Mark.
For someone a bit more mature try Colossians or Philippians.
If you use a Christian book, be sure it is Biblically sound. There are a lot of wolves in sheep’s clothing out there.
Emphasize meeting daily with Jesus in His word. This will keep other voices from the multitudes of the world sources at bay. Watch for world philosophies and lies that might be influencing her.
If you do this for a few years you will have some wonderful experiences, but you will also have some unpleasant ones as well, but just remember, discipleship is about relationship.
Relationships can be messy and sometimes painful because we are all fallible creatures. We live in a fallen world and sometimes we get smashed by it.
We want to be sensitive to the world in which our disciples live, their particular circumstances and concerns, their struggles with sin and their need of Jesus. We want to remember we are all becoming, on the way to, being transformed into the image of Jesus.
The main thing is to lead the women we disciple to see Jesus as their greatest treasure.
Take hold of my hand
Don’t let me fall behind
Keep me by your side
all of the time.