StuMo staff: 5 years at UT, 5 mo in Asia
Q: What are some of the best discipleship resources you use or would recommend?
For guys, I think the get off the fence article and the 31day challenge/Any 30 day reading plan and the vision are ones that I have used consistently as far as resources is concerned. I also use our follow up plan that UT has. Other than that though, I try to stay away from resources, but try to think through repeatable skills to teach them in their life and then taking them to the Bible and prayer every time we meet up. As we look at the Bible I try to ask them the same or similar questions to the repeatable ones they have been using on their time alone. Most of the resources that I might use are usually in the beginning of the discipleship process as they are either coming to faith or shortly after. After that point, since each individual is so different, I then begin asking the Lord to help me tailor it to them.
Q: What are some of the best practices in discipleship?
I think maintaining a few key perspectives is some of the best practices in the life of a discipler. Since seasons, people, and responsibilities are continually changing, I feel like holding to a few key truths that transcend the temporal nature of the physical discipleship will help provide a solid support system to allow the discipler to labor for the long haul. Some of those that I have found to be helpful, but by no means exhaustive are:
1) that God desires to teach me (the discipler) as much, if not more, than those that He is having me disciple. (Do not mussel an ox)
2) That no matter how many people the Lord has allowed me to disciple before, I still need His guidance, wisdom, direction, grace, etc to lead this new disciple in a manner worthy of the cross.
3) The more people God allows me to disciple and the more He allows me to see Him work in my life/other’s life, (sadly) my propensity for pride and self reliance seemingly heightens and thus makes my need for personal prayer, reading of the Word, and focus on/praise of Jesus increases more and more than when I first began following Jesus.
4) It is ok to feel lost and inadequate in this process as long as you remember that we can always call to Jesus and He will answer us and tell us great and unsearchable things we don’t know. (Jer 33:3)And that we are not loved by God based our performance, but because of His grace.
5) You are just as sinful and in need of Jesus as every other person the Lord has created.
Q: What does your time look like with the people you disciple?
Catch up, see what they have been learning in the scriptures/ministry/or current struggles, get in the Word (either a planned one to one or if a need of the hour arose from the catch/see what they have been learning time then I will audible to that need, then pray. I try to do this same model no matter where we are or what we are doing (For example, the format would look very similar, but the setting would be: the gym, driving in the car, the driving range, walking on campus, their room, the union, Etc.) Sometimes we will just focus in on one of these areas primarily for the whole time depending on their needs and what is going on in their life. For instance, if a guy has been going really hard in ministry and seems to getting burnt out, I might scrap the rest of the time I had planned and we might just hang out for the majority and briefly hit the Word and prayer in conversation instead of more formal. Or if his time in the word has been lacking, we will hang out multiple times in a row and just get in the Word the whole time with a little bit of prayer and very little ministry talk if any. Same would go for prayer. My end goal every time we hang out is for them to feel more loved by me and God and to in return love and trust God more.
Q: What do you do for follow up (topics, content)?
I have used UT’s follow up guide while at UT. I also try to get them to share or come with me as I share with a buddy of theirs as soon as possible.
Q: How often do you see them per week, typically? In what context?
This depends on the guy and where they are at. I view the discipleship process as beginning when I first meet a guy whether he is a believer or not. I believe that Jesus called every man to follow Him and some followed Him as disciples for a while before they were true believers and some never made that decision (Judas). So as I am meeting with any person whether it be for the first time or the 300th, my goal is still the same as mentioned above, “My end goal every time we hang out is for them to feel more loved by me and God and to in return love and trust God more. For instance, If a guy is lost, influential, and most comfortable in the gym, we might round up another guy or two and I would hang out with him 2-4 times a week as we get in the word together. If he is a key laborer I will spend about 2-3 times a week at least with him not in a structured larger group setting like Bible study/Late Night, etc. One of those is just him and I together meeting for his spiritual growth and then the rest we are doing ministry together. The context of this is always changing, but with each guy I try to find the place they most enjoy meeting with me and we will frequent that place together. I try to change that frequent place if they seem to start getting tired of it or seem to start enjoying another place more. I try to always bring him with me and think through how to incorporate him so we see each other a lot during the week. I want this guy to understand my life and how much he means to me. Like Paul said to Timothy: "You know all about my teaching, way of life, purpose, faith…" (2 Tim 3:10-11) I think when Timothy received these word from Paul he felt very loved.
-In summary, I do not have a set plan going into meeting any guy. My prayer is that the Lord would guide my every step with this individual and that I would lead him in the way the Lord would have. When I first came on staff I tried to treat every guy the same and that became very stale and robotic. It caused me to zone out from the Spirit’s guiding and start relying more on and caring more for my process than on the Lord and the individual respectively.
Q: What topics do you try to discuss with your disciple? Best resources?
I love discussing All topics of life with them, but I always try to discuss those topics in regards to Jesus and the Bible. Not many resources that I can point to consistently using. I usually allow the resources they are getting in leadership team/Bible study/etc be the majority of the resource use.
Q: What are your favorite 2-3 resources for each of evangelism, establishing and equipping someone?
Specific prayer for that individual over where they currently are at and which part/parts of the Word do you need to look at that day or that season. If someone can walk away at each of the three stages (evangelism, establishing, and equipping) with an increasing conviction and confidence that the Bible is everything they need to know in life and that prayer is their direct personal access to the God of the universe, their Creator, then the stage has accomplished its purpose. I have yet to find another resource that has helped I enjoy teaching them the discovery Bible Study method which is a standard 8 question list that they can use in personal Bible study as well as leading a Bible study group.