When contemplating how long to disciple another person, there are several factors to consider.
How long has this person known Christ personally? How teachable are they initially? Do they have a desire to mature in Christ spiritually? These are just a few questions to ponder. We want to be realistic in committing our time and energy to a person. We also want to be a useful tool in their life, not dragging them along too long or cutting them off too short.
I typically like to disciple someone for two years. It does not always work out this way, but here are some thoughts, ideas and general guidelines to help you think through that discipleship timeline.
During year one, I am focusing on helping my disciple get grounded in the basic tenets of the Christian faith. I am continually pointing her to the Lord Jesus Christ. So throughout year one, we walk through, chapter by chapter, my Start Here Bible Study, Next Steps Bible Study and one other study I decide my disciple needs. This may be a study in how to share the gospel, a workbook I have done in the past by another Christian author, how to spend time with the Lord daily or how to study the Bible using the inductive Bible study method.
Year One Goals:
Year Two Goals:
I had a gal I discipled one summer after I was married and had kids. She and I had a grand time together in discipleship and I had big plans for her life. However, she got a job in another city. Our schedules could no longer line up no matter how hard we would attempt to get together!
Some women I have discipled are very mature in their faith in Christ and just needed some basic direction in discipling others. After 3-4 months they are off discipling others and do not really need me more than a semester. Others come from dysfunctional backgrounds with lots of lies planted in their heart about the nature of God. It takes time to unwind those lies with the truth of scripture. Their journey can simply take much longer.
I usually commit for two years knowing there is a chance it could take longer to launch them into self-feeding discplemakers themselves! And other times, it can go much quicker!
I applaud any effort you are taking to walk alongside another in discipleship. Way to go! Please let me know if you are hitting any roadblocks in your discipleship efforts. I can address it in a future blog post!
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Whether speaking, training, or discipling, Lori brings a passion to see women raised up to be all they can be in the Lord, teaching to women of all ages on a wide variety of topics. She currently makes her home in Katy, TX, with her husband Alan and two young children Josh and Jake.