Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Take the First Step: Discipleship

guest post by Amy H.

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!

9 comments:

  1. Love that reminder at the end that we should all be actively pursuing both being mentored and being a mentor to others.

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  2. Thanks for writing this post! Such a great reminder!

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  3. Thank you for this reminder. I love the suggestions you gave. They are very practical. Sometimes we want to make things too difficult and talk ourselves out of doing something.

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  4. Thanks, Amy, for sharing with us.

    I really appreciate how you conclude this - by pointing out that we are *both* older and younger women at the same time. This is something that I've come to realize in the last year. I'm now in a position of life where I'm ahead of where some people are at (now married with three kids!) and yet I'm well behind others. I have things to learn still. And now I am in a better position to share. Both the learning and the sharing can be tricky at times and so it is helpful to focus on the Biblical command and encouragement to learn from one another. This is how the community and Body of Christ is designed to work! To help one another become more Christ-like in all that we say and do.

    Again, appreciated your time and thoughts!

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  5. Carrie: So thankful that God has called us to be both mentored and mentor others simultaneously! A reminder that this is about Him and not us! We don't have to be "there" to mentor someone...just a step ahead of them! And being mentored reminds us that we're still growing, keeping us humble, too!

    So true, Barb! You're so right--sometimes I do talk myself out of things because I think they're too difficult! Take the first step...and follow God step by step! Might not be easy, but we don't have to have everything figured out either!

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  6. I really appreciate this reminder of the importance of discipleship.

    I too, would like to echo those who have mentioned that you can be an "older woman" to someone--even if you aren't "old" yourself. When I was in college, I started discipling a younger high school girl from our church. We met every week for five years, studying the Bible together, talking and praying through difficulties, and serving together. Today, Debbie is on a new adventure--one I don't have experience in--as a young wife expecting her first baby. Although it has been several years since we last had a formal discipling relationship, I am still honored when Debbie (now my sister-in-law) calls me up or sits down with me to ask my advice on some issue or another.

    You don't have to be OLD to disciple--you just have to be a disciple (of Christ) yourself, and willing to invest your life into another woman (or girl).

    Having just relocated to another town, I'm excited to see what opportunities God might give me here to invest intentionally into younger women.

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  7. Good post with lots of take-awy value. I like your ideas. They make me want to be a better disciple.

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  8. Encouraging reminder, Bekahcubed!

    Pamela--go ahead, take the first step! :)

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  9. Great thoughts, Amy! In addition to face-to-face discipleship, I see my blog and facebook status as another means of discipleship. It provides the young women of my church a peak into life as a wife and mom. I try to be careful to always reflect Christ and be honest about my life with what I write. It's not as good as one-on-one relationships but it's a place to start.

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