When Ralph Keyser was a high school senior, he listened to Pastor Justin Carmona’s advice and looked for someone to disciple him in his Christian faith. Justin paired Ralph with Stephen Thompson for a discipleship relationship that continues today, two years later.
People May Ask … What Is a Discipleship Relationship?
“So, with our relationship,” Stephen says, “I’m a believer who has been through a few more things in life than Ralph and someone who has had discipleship before this.” Stephen sees how discipling Ralph helps him grow in his own faith, “knowing there’s someone else I’m pouring into.”
Ralph describes the relationship like this, “It’s more than just discipling. It’s a friendship. Stephen’s always there to encourage me, to point me to Scripture, to keep me accountable.”
People May Say … I Don’t Have Time
If someone says they don’t have time for discipleship, Stephen asks, “do you eat?” For Stephen and Ralph, it’s an every-other-Sunday lunch meeting right after church. “Everybody’s got to eat,” Stephen says. “I think that’s a really easy way for us to do it.”
People May Say … I Don’t Have All the Answers
“I’m not going to have all the answers,” Stephen says. “But I’m trying to make sure I know where in the Bible to look for something, that I can point to Scripture. I think it’s helped me become more disciplined, maybe more accountable, for making sure that my faith is on point.”
Ralph knows Stephen doesn’t have infinite Bible knowledge. “More often than not,” Ralph says, “he’s learning while I’m learning. You don’t have to have some extensive knowledge of the Bible to be able to disciple someone.”
A Final Thought
Ralph can see his growth through the discipling relationship. “These past two years,” he says, “I’ve grown more disciplined in my quiet time, spending time in the Word, praying, which is really important. And Stephen helps keep me accountable through that.” Ralph encourages others to seek out a discipling relationship. “Wherever you are in your faith walk,” he says, “it’s important that you have someone pour into you.”
“You don’t have to have some extensive knowledge of the Bible to be able to disciple someone.”
Concerning the urgency of discipleship, Stephen says, “You’re not too young a believer, you’re not too old a believer to have someone disciple you. I think it’s an important part of the Christian life to have someone there to help you grow in your faith. I would definitely encourage everybody to be a part of it.”
This story first appeared in Salem’s August 2018 Update. Tap here to get the August Update!