Written by Lori Joiner, featured in Katy Christian Magazine
It’s the number one hindrance facing women when it comes to discipling other women. I don’t have time. They don’t have time. Who has the time?
I surveyed 100 women formally — and countless others in casual conversations — over my 20 years in women’s ministry to discover what was their biggest roadblock to pouring their life into another woman spiritually. Time was the number one answer. I get it. As a mom of two active boys with a full schedule of speaking engagements, writing deadlines and running a ministry, the sheer thought of trying to line my schedule up with somebody else’s is almost impossible … almost.
In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus gave his followers final instructions before ascending into heaven. He said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Jesus wanted us to prioritize discipling others above all else. He wants us to help others learn about Him, understand His commands and follow Him in baptism. Countless women need a discipler and a mentor. They need someone who will get in the boat with them and then help them understand Jesus, the Bible and the Christian life. But alas, do you have time? Do you have margin to create space for discipling others?
Finding Time to Disciple Others in Various Stages of Life
I want to help you! I love discipling women, and I know first-hand the challenges to make it work in numerous phases of life. Listed here are some of the ways I have found time over the years.
College years – Late afternoons I discipled women in my residence hall, typically in my dorm room. I kept a small fridge of cold soft drinks. When we added a sweet treat and our Bibles, we were good to go!
Single years – After college and before I married at the age of 34, I was able to use evenings to disciple women. One dear friend and I met for two years at a local restaurant on Tuesday nights for discipleship. We had a corner booth and were on a first-name basis with the wait staff!
Baby years – Newborn baby haze, when you don’t even know what day it is — let alone where your Bible is — can be challenging for discipleship. Once your baby is on some sort of schedule, it becomes much easier to find windows of opportunity. I used one nap time per week to disciple a gal from a local high school. It turned out that when my son was going down for his afternoon nap, she was getting out of school.
School years – This is the phase I am currently in. I disciple a group of ladies I met at the gym. A friend and I disciple this group together in case one of us needs to miss for a sick kid or field trip to the zoo!
Empty nesters – I know a dear woman who is the grandmother of 14. She is busy with church obligations and is a phenomenal help to her large family. However, she still leads a small group of women spiritually, encouraging them with God’s Word as they face life’s twists and turns.
The Bottom Line – In our lives, we have time to do many things. Discipling others and prioritizing the mission of Jesus need to take priority. Make this a matter of prayer. Simply pray that God would bring women into your life to help spiritually and for the time in your week to make her a priority.