Last week at the Family Gathering in San Antonio, I led a seminar that largely focused on churches ministering to college students through mentoring relationships. At the end of our time, a student in the room raised his hand and said, "I just want to affirm what you said. That's what I am looking for, an adult who will disciple me and teach me in the faith." He went on to say that up to now, he has done much of his spiritual growth and learning on his own. Other students with him felt the same way.
His testimony drove home the point, and tugged at our hearts. How many students are out there in our communities looking for someone to walk with them on their journey? How many more students need an adult to mentor them? A safe place to ask the hard questions? A helping hand in learning how to navigate the perils of adulthood?
If you build it, they will come. I am convinced that if the church will be available for those kinds of relationships with students, students will come to be a part of the church. The question is, how do we equip adults in the church to be disciplers and mentors to students? It may not be as difficult as you think.
"You want me to disciple someone?" Many Christians don't feel that they are adequately equipped to disciple someone else in the faith. Certainly learning how to disciple someone well is a process, but it can be done. Here are a few things to share with a new leader to help them overcome any anxiety and get started:
We are all called to disciple others. Though we do not have to know everything, we do have to be becoming disciples ourselves, studying God's Word, abiding in Christ and intentionally following Him daily. And, as we go along, teach others. As we model these skills in our own lives we enable those we lead to disciple others. Let's start now building a culture of discipleship in our churches that will lead to generations of students and others being discipled in their faith.