Yesterday we explored the wrong ways to disciple: “5 Wrong Ways To Disciple (Part 1)
Today I would like to flip the coin.
I would like us to look at the positive side of things.
Discipleship is vital to our Army.
want need soldiers who are discipled, who are living a life of holiness, who are determined and disciplined, and those who long to disciple others along as well.
In other words: The Salvation Army needs us all to grow up!
We need to grow up in the grace of Jesus Christ.
We need to mature in our faith walk.
We need to deepened our spiritual wells.
We must step up, stop living on baby formula and strive to feast of a richer more sustainable way of holy living.
“…but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ,…” (Ephesians 4:15)
Yes, many within our ranks may have grown up in broken homes.
Yes, many within our ranks may have experienced abuses of many kinds.
Yes, many within our ranks may still carry these scars into the present…some may never fully heal.
BUT I believe in a mighty God who can and will transform, restore and renew us!
Each of us are capable of growth regardless of the scars that we carry with us.
We are not called to be educated.
We are not called to have all of the answers.
We are not even called to be capable by human standards…BUT: we are called to be faithful and He will provide the tools that we need in order to thrive within His plan for our lives.
5 Right Ways To Disciple:
1. Slow down – Don’t Run but Walk
There will be certainly times that the Holy Spirit will prompt us to pick up the pace, but if we are discipling others along in this faith, remember that it will take time. Be patient! Don’t overwhelm new Christians will all of your religious jargon and “army terminology”. They will not be ready for this. It is too much. They won’t understand and you may inadvertently drive them away. So go easy!
Understandably we have “Christian” standards that we, who are more mature in the faith, live by…remember that those with whom you have the privilege of discipling or mentoring do not have those deep roots yet.
A Parable of sorts: A tree within the forest can grow for hundreds of years. As that tree grows (slowly) over time, the root system expands and deepens into the fertile soil. Younger trees, however, are more susceptible to the prevailing winds as their roots have yet to embed and deepen.
Remember, dear mentor, soldier, friend, that God has been patient with us…and we are far from perfect even now.
Go slow with those you disciple.
Don’t discourage those that are young in the faith because they still have many roots to deepen…show them that you care and that they truly are loved and accepted!
2. Be Real, Be Genuine!
The second right way is to be honest.
Don’t hide the fact that you yourself still struggles with things of this life.
Don’t try to make yourself look perfect in every way.
Don’t hide behind some sort of “Super Soldier” facade.
Be a real person who is accessible and honest with those that you disciple.
Two things happen when we are real and genuine:
a. We have a more tender hearted approach to those we mentor because we too have become vulnerable.
b. the disciplee will see honest living, nothing faked, and they will treasure this gift!
Do you know what millennials despise more than anything? – Disingenuous overly religious people who are hypocrites and hide behind religious sayings and mantras but are in no way righteous in their living.
I think Jesus despised disingenuous people as well…no wait, I know He did! Lead by example, not by dictating laws and rules…Genuine living trumps hypocrites and phonies any day!
3. Reverence of Scripture and life application!
Are there other spiritual sources for encouragement and Christian living? Of course, but do not discount the power of God’s Word. Were the people who wrote various books in the Bible perfect? Of course not! But there is also hope, joy and encouragement wedged within those pages as well! Teach from the Word of God! Make sure it is utilized when mentoring disciples of the faith. Life application should take place within the narrative lessons of the Bible. When reading passages of scripture, I still ask myself the question “what can I learn and apply in my own life from this story or teaching?”
The Bible is not obsolete, it is not writings of an ancient people that has no footing in our world today…so use it wisely.
4. Point To Holiness
“For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.” 1 Thessalonians 4:7
This walk of faith that we are on, directs us to the longing and the need to be like Christ in every way.
This isn’t some mumbo-jumbo babble about holiness, this is our prime example of holy living!
Mentors, speak of holy living often!
Live holy lives!
Be genuine and sincere.
Allow those you disciple to understand who we are to imitate and follow after!
Speak often of the workings of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
Of His indwelling within us.
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.” 1 Peter 2:21
5. Invest of yourself and your time!
If we are leading disciples of Christ into a deeper relationship with Him, we must make ourselves available!
This includes our “personal spaces”, times of real fellowship can occur in places other than the corps building!
I recall those mature Christians who mentored me – they were accessible, they were available to my questions, they were there when I needed them. Are we available to those we disciple? How much of our time are investing in them?
Again, this is not a sprint but a marathon.
Discipling people will demand our attention and our time.
Are we prepared to give it?
Are we prepared to give of ourselves?
Those we disciple will know if we feel inconvenienced all the time with their questions and need to linger with us.
Be patient, and compassionate and kind.
Your attention to them will make a difference!
Note: You don’t necessarily have to have a book on “how to disciple” someone.
Sure, there are good materials out there, but if you don’t have text books available to you to lead someone through a discipleship/mentoring program, just be who God has called you to be and teach through example and through the Word of God!
Dear Salvation Army,
we need more willing, godly Soldiers to step up and disciple others!
We need more examples of holy living in our corps!
We need more examples of holy living to our young people who are being pulled in every which way and could succumb to the immense pressures of temptation and sin.
Will you go?
Will you disciple?
Will you invest of yourself?
Will you be the very reflection of Christ?
Something more for our Army to ponder today!
To God be the glory!