So we’re talking about discipleship this week. I love the process of discipleship and am honestly amazed at what a difference it makes in peoples lives. We can see so many examples of discipleship in the early church. But let’s back track a little bit. First of all, let’s talk about what discipleship is even.
2 Timothy 2:2 says, “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses to entrust to reliable people who will also be qualified to teach others.”
- Discipleship is a Paul, Barnabas, and Timothy.
I first heard this phrase at the camp I worked at over the summer but I’ve since learned that it’s actually pretty popular in the church world. Having a “Paul,” means having an older person pour into your life. This is someone who is farther along in their walk with Christ that can advise, encourage, and instruct you. A “Barnabas” is a peer that is in the same stage of life as you. This is a person who you have intentional conversations with. Maybe you’re going through similar things, or maybe your not but your time spent together specifically encourages you to grow. Lastly, you need a “Timothy.” This means someone younger than you that you can help grow and instruct.
These names aren’t picked at random. Paul, an apostle of the early church, was Timothy’s mentor. And to simplify, Paul and Barnabas were friends essentially. Barnabas vouched for Paul’s character and helped him in his ministry.
So what does this look like in our lives? Well for me, my “Pauls,” have been a couple of different people. First and foremost, my momma has discipled me my entire life. Along the way, a few older women in my church have also filled this role and shared wisdom with me. My “Timothys,” have been a number of younger girls. I have worked with middle school girls for a long time and in the last year have also spent time with a few high school girls. Sometimes I disciple in small groups and few times I have had the honor of doing it individually as well. Each season looks different. Last but not least, Barnabas. For whatever reason, I think these are the hardest people to find. They aren’t just regular friends. They are intentional. They know how you fail and commit to keeping you accountable. They push you forward and pick you up when you fall.
For a lot of my life, I’ve shied away from asking a specific person to hold me accountable. It’s always scared me to tell one person everything and ask them to step into that role. In the past few years though, I have begun to open up to a few trusted friends that I am in contact with regularly. We encourage each other and generally just talk about what’s really going on. It may seem scary but there’s so much beauty in vulnerability my friends.
- Discipleship is intentional.
Being discipled or discipling another is not simply meeting them for coffee and talking about your week. That can be apart of it for sure but it’s more than that. It’s setting goals for growth. It’s memorizing scripture. It’s diving into the word and learning together.
Growing is never easy. It hurts to push past our boundaries! Growing is so uncomfortable. But it’s good. Know that this process is probably going to sting some. It requires you to work and put yourself out there. (It’s so cool to look back and see how much you’ve changed though!)
- Discipleship is accountability.
Don’t you hate that word? Even the sound of it makes me nervous. Admitting your mistakes, the things you’re ashamed of, to another person is scary! There’s that little voice in our heads that says that they will walk away from you when they know the truth. That’s such a lie.
I am in no way advocating you spilling all your beans to everyone you know. There’s not much wisdom in that. Choose your people with care. A great friend of mine always says to date boys with proven character not potential. I think that applies here as well actually. Choose a mentor that has proven character. Choose Barnabas’ who are trustworthy friends. And state upfront that your conversations are private and nothing is “too much.” When talking to your “Timothy,” remind them that their sin is never too “bad” for you to love them.
(*Note: If someone tells you that they are being hurt or they are hurting other people, then this is a very different situation. If someone is in an abusive situation, please report this and get help.)
- Discipleship is the best way to grow in your relationship with Jesus.
It’s true friends! We are designed to be social creatures. We grow best when we grow together. You might have heard this verse but it speaks so well to discipleship.
Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”
We have the ability to help each other grow in tremendous ways. In the past few years, various women have pushed me to grow in my understanding of the Lord, given me wise advise, and just listened when I needed an ear. Even Jesus sought community. He was perfect in every way but took the time to build a community of people around Him. He taught them, encouraged them, and spent His time with them. Follow that lead my friends!
I don’t want you to read this post and just walk away. Look at your life. Do you have a Paul? A Barnabas? A Timothy? If you don’t, then seek them out! Be bold! Ask someone you trust to meet with you every week and pour into your life. Talk to a trusted friend about what’s really going on in your life. Start pouring into those around you that might be younger or new to loving Jesus.
I would love to hear how God uses discipleship in your life to grow you! Much love.