Discipleship is important! As a Christian disciple, a follower of Christ who spreads the gospel of Jesus, I know that God has called me into discipleship relationships. Colossians 1:28-29 are key verses for me: "We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me." My priorities include proclaiming Christ and discipleship--working to see others (and myself) grow toward maturity in Christ, becoming more and more Christ-like. I understand that this will be "labor" and will involve "struggle", yet rely on His power at work in me!
Today we'll explore the unique discipleship relationships between women. The practical applications of discipleship are endless, yet let's explore just a few ideas. These ideas are meant to open doors, steps in developing a relationship. As the relationship grows, so will teaching opportunities!
Are you a younger woman desiring an older, more mature woman to disciple you? By all means take the initiative! Pray first, asking the Lord for guidance. Watch for women who are an example to you. Do you have a question for them or an area that you are struggling in that they could help? Then invite them over! Ask them into your home for coffee--nothing fancy, just an open home that will welcome them, and then take time to develop this relationship. Would you like to menu plan and grocery shop on a budget? Then ask someone who has experience if you can tag along as they plan and shop. Are you a mom wondering what the Bible teaches about motherhood or wondering how to practically apply the Bible? Ask! Do you have certain giftings from the Lord and desire to serve within the church, but just aren't sure how? Consider asking another woman to share a responsibility with you so that you can intentionally learn from them. Never provided a meal for a hurting family or thrown a bridal/baby shower? Again, watch and ask! Yes, this may be difficult or even intimidating. Yet, totally worth it to ask! Is there a woman who clearly loves the Lord and follows His Word? Talk with her, ask her questions. Don't wait for her to come to you, go to her!
As an older woman you have the opportunity to develop discipleship relationships! Relying on the Lord, keeping Him first, you have an opportunity to see God at work and watch first hand as God matures His children. Amazingly, He desires to use you! What a privilege! Pray, asking the Lord what He would ask you to do or give. Then watch. Do you see a woman who is "FAT"? I was taught this acronym in college: Faithful, Available, Teachable. These are qualities of a woman ready enter into an intentional relationship! Is there a new wife around that could benefit from your encouragement and teaching in the area of loving their husband? They may benefit from dinner with you and your husband. Maybe you invite them over for a nice meal which will bless them! The next time invite the wife to help cook, or plan the menu and grocery shop together. As you work, talk about life. Let her see, and hear, how you love your husband and even how you submit to him in biblical submission. What about an expectant mom? I was blessed by an older woman who offered to help me with my baby registry. She took me to register and then out to lunch. Over the years she has continued to teach me a lot about motherhood and I so thankful! What about a new believer? Show them God's love first hand! Invite them to attend Bible Study with you and then take time to talk about what you learned. Spend time training them in how to study the Bible or even how to have a personal quiet time with the Lord and why that is important. Model for them, allowing them to share in your personal time. Teach them to pray, by praying together. Do you serve at church? Be on the watch for a younger woman to bring alongside. Take the opportunity to encourage her in serving and to pass on what you've learned. She'll appreciate it!
As you've read, naturally you have probably put yourself in one of the two categories: younger woman or older woman. Yet, do you realize that you're both? Ask God to reveal you you opportunities to take initiative with both younger woman and older woman! Don't wait in asking! Then listen and respond! Certainly this is His plan: Titus 2:3-5, "Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can train the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God."
Christ is the center, relationship is key, and initiative is essential!