Last fall, the Lord began tugging on my heart that He wanted me to begin to disciple middle school girls with Him.
Lord, I thought, why would you want me, of all people, to disciple middle school girls? I can clearly remember going to youth group at my church one Wednesday night, totally unprepared for what I was about to hear.
When our Pastor was speaking, I remember him saying, “By the way, I know that some of us in this room are ready to start discipling middle schoolers, if you think that person is you, please come talk to me after service.”
When he said that, the Holy Spirit leapt inside of me. Of course I went and talked to him!
Shortly after that night, he paired me with another girl in my grade, and we soon became great friends. We started meeting with one girl in December, and slowly over time, the Lord sent a few more girls our way.
Discipling middle school girls has shown me how to better empathize with others, show compassion, and patience. Sometimes some of the girls don’t show up for our meetings, or they do show up, but they haven’t read the study for the week. God has taught me so much about unconditionally loving others through being with these girls.
Doing Life Together
I’ve realized that discipleship isn’t just about meeting to discuss Scripture, it’s also about doing life together! Our study of Scripture lays a foundation for us to interact and engage with each other’s lives in ways that points us to God, no matter the situation or circumstance.
I love having our group over to my house for hangouts. We have so many fun memories together! Our friendship deepens our times where we get together to dive into God’s Word. The more you spend time with the same group of people, the closer you become.
Discipleship Isn’t a Solo Game
Thirdly, I’ve learned that having someone else to help me disciple others is a big advantage because others have different life experiences, stories, and wisdom that I don’t have.
I’m so grateful that my youth pastor paired me with my friend. It’s been such a blessing to have her come along this journey with me.
In Luke 10:1, we even see Jesus model this example for us. After choosing his 72 disciples, he sends them out in pairs. Ecclesiastes also states the benefit of having another person, “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor” (Ecclesiastes 4:9).
Not only is it beneficial to disciple others with someone your age, it’s also important to have people pouring into you as you disciple. My mentor and my parents assist me as I disciple by praying for me and offering godly counsel. We also need to be discipled and having these older people in my life has only made me more effective in encouraging others.
Learning To Become Gospel Fluent
Lastly, the most important thing I’ve learned is that I must always take the girls I disciple back to the gospel and point them to Christ every time we meet.
“Self-help” books/answers may seem good in the moment, but they always leave people emptier than they were before.
Only Jesus is truly satisfying. He is the bread of life and living water (see John 6:48-58 and John 4:10-14). He alone holds the answers we need and His words are words of life (John 6:78).
Knowing how to take people back to the gospel takes time, and I’m still learning myself, but one of the things that’s been helpful to me is Jeff Vanderstelt’s book, Gospel Fluency.
In his book he shares a method for Bible study that equips people to take any and every passage of Scripture back to the gospel. I use this method with my girls, and not only has it helped me to become more gospel fluent, but it’s helped them to become more fluent in the gospel as well.
As a group, we have been reading through the book of John together. After reading each passage of Scripture, we answer these four questions from Jeff Vanderstelt’s book:
Who is God?
What has He done?
Who am I in light of what He’s done?
How do I live in light of these truths above?
These questions never fail to take us back to the feet of Jesus, and they always leave us more in awe of our Savior than we were before.
The Rewards of Discipling
Discipling these girls has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life.
Over time, I’ve seen them grow in their character. They have more confidence to speak up during our meetings. I’ve seen them grow in wisdom, and in their faith.
I’ve seen their friendships with each other grow by leaps and bounds. I’ve watched them save seats for others who don’t have many friends. I’ve observed them run up to greet each other (and me) with hugs.
I’ve seen them stand in awe of their Savior as we worship through song at our youth group. I’ve even experienced them ministering to me when they know I’ve had a rough week.
I encourage you, my reader, to begin to disciple others too.
You will fall deeper in love with the Lord than you could ever imagine possible. You’ll experience rejoicing with those who rejoice, and weeping with those who weep. You’ll see the Spirit of the Lord move in ways you’ve never seen before.
Discipleship is very important because it’s the last thing Jesus told the disciples before he ascended into heaven. He told them to “Go therefore and make disciples…” (Matt.28:19). I can’t even begin to explain how grateful I am that older Christians in my life have realized the value in this verse and decided to pour into me and other people. Without their guidance, I don’t think I’d be where I am today in my walk in with the Lord. And it’s so amazing that we can have the same influence as we come alongside each other and point one another to Christ and His Word.
Discipleship doesn’t have to be extravagant, or over the top. It’s as simple as saying, “Come, join me as we together follow Jesus.”