Recently, Pastor Tyler wrote a blog and Pastor John preached about discipleship in our church. They are great resources and I highly recommend them. In reading and listening to the wisdom shared on this topic I had to take a step back and reflect. Taking time to reflect on sound teaching and the sharing of the word usually causes a few things to happen for me: conviction, repentance, and the changing of my behavior.
I am a person of habit and routine. I have found my routines can be a strength in my life but also a weakness. When it comes to the area of discipleship and meeting one on one, I tend to keep my commitment in meeting together regularly. The part I fail at is making sure our time is well spent after the first couple meetings of getting to know one another. My habit of just talking for an hour and a half has been established. I can easily let conversations wander from topic to topic without much thought into steering it toward training and/or teaching of the Gospel. Now there is absolutely a time and place to just meet and catch up, but there are deeper reflections to be sought in meeting together regularly. In meeting, we desire to relate to each other, but we also want to submit ourselves to the word of God so that we may be competent and equipped for the work of God (2 Tim. 3:16).
In reflecting on my time with some of the people I meet with, I became convicted that I have wasted it. As I have met with people, my choice has been to sin and run from having to deal with issues at heart levels for fear of failure.The sin behind this is that I don’t actually believe the gospel as sufficient in all things. I have let the world’s lie that I should just “Create a space for someone to vent,” become sufficient for God’s definition of discipleship. This is wrong. The reality of Christ’s deity, life, death and resurrection penetrates the deepest pains, greatest joys, and simplest of occurrences of everyday life. We must share this with one another, and those that don’t know Christ, through our words as we meet.
Repentance and Change
In light of this conviction, I repented to God for my disbelief in His sufficiency in the gospel. Next, I took a looked at the abundant materials the church has given me over the last year to properly disciple and be discipled. After really looking at the beauty of what discipling is intended to be and tapping into the resource of the church, I feel excitement over the things to come in this process. There is a plan in front of me with a goal of drawing closer to Christ, becoming more like him, and sharing this with others. This is something to rejoice in.
Slowly, I am trying to change some of my habits when it comes to meeting with other believers. I am changing the way I disciple a younger sister in Christ. Instead of long sessions of just talking without much intentional focus, we are going through a book from the church bookstore. It helps us focus and sets the tone for deeper reflections on everyday life during our time together. This kind of structure is good for us and is working well.
I have asked a woman in our church that is a couple steps ahead of me in life to meet up every couple of weeks. I see her life as a beautiful reflection of Christ and I hear the wisdom of scripture pour out in her speech. I see that and want to glean from her. There is no elaborate plan, just a desire to intentionally meet and be taught better the way to live out the gospel every day.
There is a woman I am blessed to call friend in our church. We have known each other for nearly a decade as sisters in Christ. We have walked through books we read together or personally. We ask questions to each other about theology, marriage, kids and how to better serve those we are trying to point to Christ. She has been the woman God has most used in my life to correct me, encourage me, and grow alongside me. Even after all these years, we are still pushing one another toward Christ. We recently talked about spending more time intentionally praying with one another as a means to grow.
Don’t Over Book or Overlook
As I walk out these new changes there are a couple things I know I must be aware of. I believe they may help you, too.
First, let’s not over schedule our days. There is no quota and you are no less or more of a Christian by the number of people you meet with. We want to love one another well and wrestle with the gospel together in our time. We want to invest time to intentionally teach one another. We cannot do this with thirty different people every month. Reflect and be prayerful in your relationships with one another. Some people we will see every month or two for coffee and others we will meet with every week or two. Different seasons of life allot for different numbers of meetings and time allowances. Invest well and deeply with the time you have.
Second, do not overlook the people you meet with regularly or semi regularly. There are some people you may have been meeting up with for years without really pushing one another toward Christ. Start transforming some of that time with intentionality in the gospel. As Pastor Tyler mentioned in his blog, look at the people around you (non-Christian friends, classmates, and those in your community group).
What a beautiful thing it will be to push each other toward Christ. From the outpouring of our hearts which are saturated in the word of God, our mouths will speak truth in love. From that, by God’s grace, people will hear the gospel in our homes and in coffee shops and be saved.