Discipleship is God’s method of growing His Church and growing leaders. It is believers modeling and teaching God’s Word and His precepts to other believers, to help them grow and strengthen in their walk of faith. Every believer needs to be discipled, and every believer needs to disciple others. When we do, nothing will be able to stop us from walking in victory!
If feelings of inadequacy or a feeling of not knowing where to start have kept you from stepping into your rightful place of discipleship, we’ve put together a checklist for discipling another believer for your reference to help you get on your way.
1. First, Be Discipled. To be good at discipling and leading others, you must first be good at being discipled. Before you begin discipling others, find a mature believer who you can trust to lead you into a stronger relationship with the Lord. Reach out and ask someone to disciple you, then be willing to do what they ask in accordance with the Word of God. Meeting or talking weekly or monthly is all it takes to be challenged to grow in the Lord. One of the ways you disciple others is through example. When you model godly living, you are communicating much more than you ever could with words.
2. Make a Connection. There’s a saying in the parenting world that hits the nail on the head when it comes to all relationships. Rules without relationship equals rebellion. In other words, healthy relationships of any kind must be built on love and trust before any type of correction will be effective. The same is true when discipling another. You must first work to develop a relationship of love, respect and trust with someone before discipleship will be effective.
3. Be Willing To Correct in Love. A discipleship relationship is one that should bring spiritual growth. That is only possible in an atmosphere of correction and exhortation. Some people find it difficult to directly point out an area in another that needs correction, but it is the mark of true discipleship. Of course, this should always be done in love and with the purpose of helping, not criticizing. But remember, your pointing something out could lead someone to a breakthrough far faster than they would have experienced otherwise, if at all!
4. Be an Encourager. Equally important to correction is encouragement. Every believer needs encouragement. The more the better! Take the time to point out the strengths in the person you’re discipling, and remind them that all of us have areas that need work—it’s just part of the process.
5. Be Available. Discipleship takes time. So be prepared to be available. But keep in mind that the goal of discipleship is to help others turn to the Word on their own, rather than relying on you to give them all the answers. Your job is to point them to Jesus and cause them to tune in to the Holy Spirit more and more. Some discipleship relationships are short term, others are long term. If it is to be short term, be sure to put a timeline on the time of discipleship. And be sure that the relationship does not begin to infringe on your own personal or family time.
6. Pray for Those You Disciple. As you disciple another believer, part of hearing from the Lord and possessing the wisdom to pour into another is praying for those you disciple. Seek the Lord ahead of your meetings and ask Him to direct your conversations. Pray that what He is wanting to say will be revealed.
7. Challenge Those You Disciple to Come to a Higher Level. When you disciple another, don’t try to get them to come to the exact place where you are. Each person has his or her own journey, and it is important to meet people where they are and help them grow to their next level. Crawl, walk, run. Pushing too hard too fast will not end well. Don’t ever water down the Word of God, but explain it in a way they are likely to understand and receive.
When you use this checklist for discipling another believer, you’ll build your confidence to do what you’ve been called to do! You may not feel equipped, but God will anoint you to encourage others. Your wisdom is needed, so let’s start discipling!