One of the most beautiful things about Salem is that it truly is a multi-generational church. When I say multi-generational, I am not talking about having a bunch of different generations together in a church. I am talking about having a bunch of different generations serving and worshiping together. Whether it is AWANA, Valentine’s banquets, mission trips, BFGs, worship teams, or committees, Salem has people coming together from many different generations so that we as a church can pursue Jesus and share His story together.
Because of that, Salem is uniquely equipped to do something really incredible. This is something that is modeled over and over again in the Bible but is one thing that is lacking in churches today. I am talking about one on one discipleship, spiritual mentoring. A couple of years ago I read somewhere that 85% of pastors had never had anyone personally mentor or disciple them. This was alarming to me but it made me think about my own life. I have had numerous people pour into my life in one way or another. Whether that was my wife, a pastor, youth pastor, friends, family members, small group leaders, or teachers – God has used many people to help me get to where I am now in my spiritual journey. However, I had never had anyone pull me aside and tell me that they wanted to personally mentor and disciple me.
I didn’t like this so I started to pray. God led me to someone who I trusted and looked up to. We have been faithfully meeting for almost two years now. This has strengthened and encouraged both of us in our walk with the Lord. It has caused me to pursue Jesus more passionately. This spiritual mentoring relationship has helped me tremendously. I cannot think of another time in my life where I have grown this much.
What Is Spiritual Mentoring?
In Titus 2, Paul gives instruction to encourage the older men and women in the church to teach and train those that are younger than them. He is calling the church to spiritually mentor and disciple itself. Spiritual mentoring happens when a mature follower of Jesus helps another follower of Jesus walk the path of a disciple. There are plenty of younger Christians who are hungry to be mentored. There are plenty of mature Christians who have the ability to do that. What would happen if we as a church used all of our resources, even our own walks with the Lord, to help others?
What Are The Qualifications?
If you are interested in discipling someone else, there are a couple of criteria that you should meet. The first is that you need to be pursuing after Jesus. Jesus says himself in Matthew 22:37 that the greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. If you are going to help someone else love the Lord that way, you must be trying to do that yourself. You do not have to be perfect, but you have to be pursuing. Want to know if you are pursuing Jesus? Check out this post for a quick check-up.
You should also have someone who is discipling you or an accountability partner. At Salem, we don’t want this to be something that happens in pockets. We want this to be a web where we see generational discipling. You do not become perfect this side of glory. We are all being transformed from one degree of glory to another (2 Corinthians 3:18). Finally, you must be confidential. Everything stays between you two and God. Nothing can ruin a discipling relationship more than a break of trust.
If you are interested in having someone disciple you, you need to meet some criteria as well. You need to be committed, open, teachable, and willing to grow. Committed to the point where you are reaching out to the man or woman discipling you. Open to where you are sharing your struggles, temptations, fears, and failures so that the one discipling you can pray and encourage you. Teachable to know that you don’t have all of the answers but you are willing to listen to Godly wisdom from someone who has been there before. Willing to grow so that you are being spurred on that path of a disciple.
How Do I Find Someone To Meet With?
The first thing that you do is pray. Ask God to help lead you to the right person. Chances are, he already has. The best way to find someone who can disciple you or would be good for you to disciple is in the groups you are already a part of. Maybe you work at the same company with someone at church. That is a great connection that you have. Sometimes finding someone involved in the same ministry is a good fit. If you are serving together in AWANA or in choir you already have common ground. Find people that are in your BFG or small group. Start looking where you already are.
One of the main reasons why people don’t meet like this is because people are afraid to ask. Let me let you in on a little secret. Everyone is looking for community. We all want friends. All of us want to help each other. Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Just do it. Ask them. Would you be willing to meet with me once or twice a month to help me pursue Jesus? Would you be willing to meet with me once or twice a month so that I can help you pursue Jesus? There, you can use that line.
What Does A Meeting Look Like?
Every meeting I am a part of looks different. I have plenty of resources that can help you in these relationships and meetings. I would love to sit down with you and talk about some ideas that will help you pursue Jesus in one of these discipling relationships.
Typically though, I meet with the people I disciple every other week. You do what works best for your schedule but monthly is the minimum. We spend some time talking about life and what is going on. The point of that is not small talk. I am listening with purpose. During the talk I transition to spiritual matters and how what we have already talked about intersects that.
I ask as many questions as I can. The discipler should be listening more than talking. I ask about prayer life, married life, single life, parenting life, giving, serving, ministry, people they are sharing their faith with, temptations. Nothing is off limits. Many times I will talk about the spiritual disciplines and how they are doing in those areas. Other times I will have a sheet of paper with a passage of Scripture on it and we will study it together. I always try and give them verses that will encourage them for what they are going through. Every meeting ends with prayer. That prayer continues until we meet the next time. The discipler is praying continually for their people.
Start praying now if this is something that is for you. The Bible seems to think that it is. If you want some help, come and talk with me, would love to sit and talk more about this with you. This is an incredible way that we can make disciples who share His story. Through it all, God will be glorified.