My daughter and son-in-love lead a weekly Bible study group that has been growing quiet rapidly. They have had several of their members accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior for the first time. They asked my husband and me about what we thought might be a good study for them to work through with these new Christian brothers and sisters. I didn’t reply right away because there is no “one size fits all” discipleship program. God created individuals and we must disciple individuals.
In our society today, there are so many choices for Christian teaching materials and programs. It can be overwhelming to try to wade through them to find just the right one. My experience has taught me that, although I generally teach “classes” of women, in reality, I meet with them as individuals; seeing just where God is at work in their hearts and offering them the scriptures and perspectives that each needs to address the circumstances and emotions of life.
Anyway, the question still looms – where do you begin?
I start with prayer. Only God knows what each one needs. Just like our children. Each unique individual needs something specific to help them understand, know and love Jesus. God will show me what that is and put the right words in my mouth at the right time if I am filled with Him and submitted to Him.
Spiritual Disciplines are vital for all believers. Educate and train new believers on these tools that will benefit them for the rest of their lives if they put them into regular practice. These will build their relationship with God and set a firm anchor of faith for when the storms of life descend upon them.
Daily Scripture Reading: Start with the book of John. This is a very clear concise book of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Daily Prayer Time: teach them how to pray. Jesus is always our example and He taught His disciples how to pray. We need to do the same.
Scripture Memorization: even two year olds can memorize scripture. Stress the importance of hiding God’s word in our hearts. Time spent meditating on His word has such great power in our lives.
Regular Church Attendance and Tithing: being an active part of a Bible teaching church is vital to our growth as Christians. This is where we learn to do the word not just read the word. We also get the benefit of godly counsel from the Body; refreshment of corporate prayer and worship time and the opportunity to serve and love others well. The discipline of tithing teaches us great lessons about God’s faithfulness and provision. It is important.
Doing the Word: Mission activities of serving others in the love and name of Jesus Christ is a must. Our faith is not just for ourselves. We are servants of our Lord Jesus Christ and He commands us to serve others to build His kingdom. Teach them the great commission. We are to be disciples who make disciples. Share the gospel. Live the gospel.
Allow the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to Change You: We must be submitted to the work of Jesus Christ in our lives. As we read and learn God’s Holy Word, the Holy Spirit of God is at work within our hearts to change us and mold us. We are born with a sin nature that, when left to its own way, will take us far from the path of God. We must struggle mightily to remain humble and obedient to God’s call on our lives. We will never know all that God has for us. This is a life long journey with a God who loves us dearly. He has more for you! Press on!
Test Everything: God’s word tells us to test everything we hear and are taught against His holy scriptures – ALL of them, not just one or two verses. To do this you must know His scriptures. Challenge yourself to learn more each day, week, and year that God allows you to live. There are many good preachers and writers that can assist us in understanding our faith and how to live it out, but always remember to test what “man” says against God’s word. Keep the good, toss out the bad. Listen to God’s guidance in your life. He will confirm through His word, His people, and your prayers when you are living in His will. He pours out His love and affirmation when you walk humbly with Him.
So that in a nutshell is where I start. I encourage all believers to add to this list tools that will be beneficial as you disciple others to become disciples. Emotional health, family of origin issues, generational sins, garbage in – garbage out principle, physical health stewardship, healthy sexuality, financial stewardship, parenting, marriage, work and faith issues, boundaries, what suffering is all about, etc. can all be beneficial topics when helping individual disciples navigate this life in a manner that is worthy of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are all in this together. Let us not give up encouraging one another.
Seek Him. Be encouraged. Proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ. Press on.