Three simple steps to discover who to disciple
By Cherie Fresonke, @cheriefresonke
Do you have a heart to minister to the hurting, but aren’t sure where to begin? Do you wonder, who to disciple? Or perhaps, you are like many I work with who are a bit afraid to ask a person if they want to be discipled.
Since I meet so many people who want to help others, but aren’t sure where to begin or how to find their first disciple, let me share some of the tidbits I’ve learned over the years. For sure, the most important group of people to not overlook are those closest to us. I was guilty of this, many years ago, when I first returned to the States after living abroad for a year.
Who Do You Want Me to Disciple?
I remember my prayer: “Lord, who do you want me to disciple?” You see, my whole life had changed. Again. And I needed to know where I fit in within the work of the Lord. Because I loved to serve Him. I knew my life’s calling was discipleship. Yet, I didn’t know exactly who He wanted me to minister to.
Soon after this prayer, I was unpacking boxes and moving back into our house. I unwrapped a tiny sunflower frame. In the center of the sunflower, where all the seeds grow and mature, was a photo of my daughter. This was extremely significant to me.
For those of you who have never heard my sunflower stories about discipleship, click here for the first post in the series How to Disciple the Hurting.
Well, the Lord impressed upon my heart, “I want you to disciple your daughters.” I learned a great lesson that day. Discipleship begins with the ones closest to us. The best part in this was watching my daughters grow into beautiful women who love the Lord.
So what are some of the ways we can disciple the ones closest to us?
Pray and ask the Lord who He wants you to disciple. Is it a close family member—a child or grandchild? (There will be more about discipling children in a moment, so read on.) Is it an extended family member—a sister, brother, nephew or niece? Is it a neighbor or co-worker? Is it a friend at church?
Once you determined whom the Lord is putting on your heart to minister to, ask that person if they would like to be discipled. Many times, I encourage women to simply say, “Hey, I learned about a great Bible study that I would like to do with a friend. Would you like to meet weekly and go through it with me?” The women who have tried this tell me that the answer is almost always yes.
Another technique that is effective is this. If a person attended a Go in Peace seminar or even simply read the Go in Peace Leadership Manual it’s easy to say, “Hey, I would like to learn how to disciple others with the curriculum I just completed. Can I take you through it, so I can be more confident in ministering to others?” Every time a person used this approach, it worked. Soon they were discipling their first participant and learning at the same time.
Third, Be Creative
This third point is especially important for little ones. Ask God to inspire you how to disciple a child. He has the answer. Jesus said:
Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 19:14, esv
So let me give you an example to get your creative juices flowing. Sixteen years after God inspired me to disciple my daughters, this lesson came full circle for me.
Three weeks ago, one of my daughters, son-in-law and three young grandsons moved to Bulgaria to work alongside of us in ministry. (A mother’s joy fulfilled. You can follow their journey here if you so desire.) With this move, came a lot of time stuck in the car for the kids. We spent days driving around Bulgaria trying to find a good car for their family to purchase. Then it took two full days just to complete all the legal paperwork to own and drive the car. Needless to say, the kids were stuck in boring places waiting for their parents to complete whatever it was they were trying to accomplish.
So what’s a grandma to do?
Stories on the fly.
No books, no pictures, just pure imagination.
A Discipler’s Delight
Soon stories were told about flying pterodactyls, enormous brachiosauruses and three little boys who moved to a faraway land. All with the emphasis on the current struggle of the day, along with an important lesson to be learned for the situation.
Now, the precious phrase I hear daily is, “Grandma, can you read us another story?
The cutest thing about this is, I’m not reading. There are no books in my hand. No pictures on every page. All I have is inspiration from the Lord, my imagination and the windows of their little minds.
I hope I never forget this precious phrase. “Grandma, can you read us another story?”
The reason these words are so precious is not because they come from my grandsons. (Of course, that’s an added bonus.) But, it’s because they want to learn more. They’re hungry for love and attention. They’re open to learn about values and virtues. But the most important point in all this is, they simply need a story they could relate to. A story tailored to their situation. A story about being patient, or kind, or brave, or whatever the situation called for. A story that reveals the consequences for missing the mark and the rewards for reaching the goal. A story to help them grow into the men God created them to be.
In conclusion, you too, can find creative ways to disciple the precious little ones in your life. Allow God to inspire you with stories to share. This truly is a discipler’s delight.
Who is God putting on your heart to disciple? What’s holding you back? I’m looking forward to your comments. God bless.