Myth: To be a person who disciples others, you have to have it all together.
Truth: No one has it all together.
Myth: Only a select group of Christians are called to disciple others.
Truth: Everyone is called to love like God loves. Everyone is called to tell the story of what God has done and is doing in his life. Put those together and you have something close to discipleship or, as Brent describes it in our cover story, “intentional, authentic relationship.”
Myth: You have to be a Bible scholar to disciple others.
Truth: When you are a lover of the Word, a lover of Christ, and a lover of other people, Christ’s love flows through you. Henrietta Mears, who had a profound impact on Billy Graham, Bill Bright (Campus Crusade), Dawson Troutman (Navigators) and Jim Rayburn (Young Life), once said: “You teach a little by what you say; you teach most by what you are.”
Discipleship is a subject near and dear to my heart – both for the impact it has had in my life and the impact I see it having on the men and women who come through our doors.
When I look back, I recognize clear times when God brought certain individuals into my life who had a profound influence, literally changing the trajectory of my future. One of the most significant was a professor I had in college. I had to take his class to graduate, and it was a tough class. Through that class, we began to meet one-on-one, and he took the time to invest in me personally.
We went together to a neighboring university, where he modeled how to share the faith and encouraged me to do the same. His influence got me excited about evangelism. I was majoring in social work at the time (which has certainly proved valuable in my life’s work), but I discovered I had a passion for sharing my faith. Seeing people grow was exciting to me. After college, I went to work for Campus Crusade, and I wrote my graduate thesis on discipleship, a process which reinforced what I already knew: God uses relationships to change us.
Sometimes we think this has to be some kind of magical connection, but it doesn’t. God will use you if you’re available. When you invest in another person – particularly someone who has not had that kind of investment in their life – God will use it. You may not see the impact immediately. You may not ever see it. But we are commanded to love, and we can trust God to make it count.
The Book of Matthew closes with Jesus’ command:
“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” (Matthew 28:19-20).
In a sense recovery is all about discipleship – investing in lives, teaching the truth, demonstrating grace and challenging people to live in a way that reflects their identity in Christ. Your partnership is helping us to do that. If you’re interested in a more hands-on connection, I’d encourage you to explore the possibility of becoming a mentor. Read the cover story and go to our website (uniongospelmission.org/aftercare) for more information.