Over the years a common excuse I hear for not making disciples is: “I was never discipled.” Women of all ages long for women a season ahead of them to obey the clear commands that Jesus gives at the end of every Gospel. We also desire the mentoring and care outlined in Titus 2. No matter the age or stage in our lives, we long for women to model what it looks like to pursue Jesus and to truly abide. My buddy Mona and I had so many women in our church approaching us to say they had never been discipled and didn’t know how to read their Bibles that we wrote a book. That was a life-long dream...but a post about writing a book is for another time!
Modern Christianity proposes that if you haven’t sat down with someone one-on-one for an hour weekly in a coffee shop and memorized verses and listened to all they know you’ve never been discipled. While that IS a great meeting time and I’ve even told people how to set up a great meeting time like this- it is compartmentalized and not real life thus incomplete.
Meeting coupled with or in the middle of real life moments gives an overall modeling of how to abide in Christ. I love to meet with women and train them in simple ways to walk with Jesus and also bring them with me to the grocery store or to have dinner with my family. I am not the example in this. Think about the life of Jesus. He would heal the sick, feed the 5,000, talk to a woman at a well, and also explain his teachings in a smaller setting to his disciples. They didn’t merely hear content; they observed His life. Discipleship is not sit "still while I instill."
Making disciples is not simply a passive transfer of Biblical knowledge. Teaching coupled with real life modeling is necessary for the training your disciple needs to know how to abide in Jesus outside of a meeting time or when the book study finishes after 5-6 weeks.
The more I’ve traveled and chatted with women who have been believers 5 minutes or 50 years, I’ve realized a sometimes happy and sometimes not so happy truth: We’ve all been discipled. Disciple simply means learner. Consider this:
Ella grew up in a faith community where they gathered weekly to listen to a sermon. Her family never mentioned what they heard- even on the way home. Every time any woman from the church came by Ella was asked to watch tv in another room so the ladies could chat. Now an adult, she attends the women’s Bible study, watches a video, and never answers out loud because she is afraid she might say the wrong answer.
Now consider this:
Eva grew up in a faith community where they gathered weekly for worship. She and her family listened to a sermon filled with Scripture and all took notes. They chatted about what they learned all the way home and brought their notes to the family lunch table while mom and dad asked questions and clarified any of their kid’s questions. A group of 6 families met at their home on Sunday nights as all different ages gathered around God’s Word- every person was expected to share in the group and they were held accountable to share 2 things they learned that day with someone else before they met again the next week.
Eva went to a lady’s house after school every Wednesday to help her cook meals for the widows in their church. This lady always shared wisdom and asked Eva how she was following Jesus. Eva’s mom mentored a group of college girls with Eva at her side every week. Eva watched these girls confess sin, be vulnerable and tell amazing stories about how they were sharing their faith at school. Eva’s dad took her every Friday after school to a different coffee shop so they could pray with the owners. Eva cannot help but tell others how much Jesus loves them.
Need I go on? Ella and Eva were both discipled. They both learned what “walking with Jesus” looks like from their families and faith communities. Ella was discipled into a very passive relationship with Christ. Insecurity, doubt if she is really a Christian, and an inability to articulate her faith in public and actually abide in Christ are the obvious fruit.
Eva was discipled into an active relationship with Christ. She had opportunities to experience others walking with Christ. She was given tools, training, and teaching so she can walk with Christ. Abiding in Christ, joy in authentic community, compassion, peace and boldly sharing her faith are the fruit.
We’ve all been discipled. The question is: Were you discipled into a correct view of Christ and into a healthy, growing friendship with God or were you discipled into a passive religion?
It even hurts me to write that question, because I’ve met so many women that know how to attend a conference, but they don’t know how to pray and they wonder if God really does love them. I love the Bible. I love that it is filled with stories like the woman at the well. God only knows what she was doing that morning and that afternoon she led half of her village to Christ. I urge us all to be encouraged by her!
When we truly meet Christ He can undo years of sin, unhealthy patterns, and create in us clean hearts that seek Him and find Him. No matter what kind of relationship we have been discipled into...we can allow Jesus to change our future with Him. And, I urge those of us who love Jesus and truly walk with Him to GO AND MAKE DISCIPLES. Let’s commit to no more “Ellas” on our watch, as we join Jesus in seeking His kingdom first. - Amy