Real discipleship is hard stuff. I know some of you are thinking..."Wow that guy just blew my mind!" I know I didn't surprise most of you...and that's okay. But it needed to be said - just in case someone thought they could just grab up the first kid they saw and turn them into Super Christian.
I'm not suggesting that you have to be perfect to disciple someone. I'm also not saying that you won't have to answer hard questions - because you will - if you do it right. You have to be:
Be honest with yourself about who you are and be honest with that student. Let them see the real you - not some contrived image of a perfect mentor because they don't need that and the probably don't want that.
Does it mean that when they start getting serious with that girl or guy that you need to tell some embarrassing stories about yourself? Yeah, it does. Does it mean that if you promise to be at their game on Saturday morning that you be there? Yeah, it does.
Unfortunately, I've met too many students who feel like the leftovers. They are the afterthought. They need somebody to show them something different.
Be open to the Spirit. I'm going to paraphrase Larry Crabb from his book 66 Love Letters, because he does a wonderful job of getting the idea out on paper:
More often you feel empty than broken. Be open to the Spirit. He intends to use your emptiness to expose the dishonesty of your proud demand to be filled up. You need that demand because it justifies your refusal to love others until you feel loved yourself. When your emptiness reveals your spirit of entitlement, that void will become a space within you that longs for Jesus on His terms. And brokenness over your demand for satisfaction on your terms will slowly be changed into liberating gratitude for what you will see more clearly as grace (66 Love Letters)
"Don’t do anything for selfish purposes but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others. Adopt the attitude that was in Christ Jesus" - Philippians 2:3-5 Common English Bible
If you’re denying this you might not be ready.
You have to be prepared for the hard stuff. Don't be fooled, if you undertake this it will not be an easy road.
In the book of Hebrews, we find once strong believers running away when things get tough – going back to the way they used to live – going to the safe zone. They were beat down – nothing was going “as planned” life was getting hard to live – so they ran away.
We do that too. So don’t be too quick to smack down the Hebrews. You have to change how you think to do this – and that isn’t easy.
"So don’t throw away your confidence—it brings a great reward. You need to endure so that you can receive the promises after you do God’s will. In a little while longer, the one who is coming will come and won’t delay; But my righteous one will live by faith, and my whole being won’t be pleased with anyone who shrinks back" - Hebrews 10:35-38, Common English Bible
God is calling you to redefine your natural understanding of love so that you can grasp what he is trying to tell you.
Yep. Be uplifting. Show them the love of Jesus just by your attitude. Giving them the boost they need when everything else seems to be falling apart can be life changing. Don't underestimate a smile.
Giving H.O.P.E. to a student is what it's all about. Christ didn't pick and choose who he shared with - he loved everyone. The least we can do is the same.
I'll call this something...eventually....
An Illinois native, Jerrod studied Christian Education at Hannibal-LaGrange College in Missouri. He also has a degree in Biblical Studies from Indiana Wesleyan University. He is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) Biblical Counseling and Spiritual Formation Network. He served as a Youth Pastor for almost 8 years but currently serves Christ United Methodist Church in Westfield, IN as the Minister of Discipleship and Education. Jerrod has a passion for seeing lives changed through discipleship. That drive has led him to start an online ministry - to minister to new and growing Christians.
Jerrod is married. He and his wife have a son. In his free time, Jerrod enjoys watching the St. Louis Cardinals, playing baseball, blogging, tweeting, coffee, and spending time with his wife and son