How would you define discipleship?
Discipleship is intentionally equipping believers with the Word of God through accountable relationships empowered by the Holy Spirit in order to replicate faithful followers of Christ. It means you’re coming alongside other women and spending time in the Word of God, memorizing it, journaling, holding one another accountable and praying together. Sharing your faith, fasting and worship are other spiritual disciplines that you can do individually but are also highly effective when practiced in community. Discipleship is not a program; it’s a way of life. It’s how we maintain a healthy, balanced spiritual journey. We discipline ourselves and practice these activities to be more like Him.
What do you believe to be the most important spiritual discipline?
It’s the daily reading of God’s Word. This is a strong statement, I know, but it is one I believe with every fiber of my being. Spending time in Scripture is of the utmost importance because our lives ebb and flow in and out of different seasons. It never stays the same for very long. Sometimes those seasons will be times of joy and celebration; sometimes they will be filled with suffering and difficulty. Nevertheless, the Word of God remains the same. In a world of flux, it is our one constant for direction, guidance, encouragement, motivation, inspiration, confrontation, conviction and remembrance. God speaks to us through His Word as He does the Work in our lives. Coming alongside others to read and discuss the Word of God is the crux of discipleship and gives us the ability to navigate life’s changing terrain with the right compass.
How did Jesus demonstrate the idea of having a quiet time?
He demonstrated over and over that He wanted to spend quality time with His Father and with His disciples. Not only did He intentionally withdraw to spend time with God, but also He always spent that time in prayer. As a devout Jew, Jesus would have committed enormous passages of Scripture (what we call the Old Testament) to memory. It was part of the education every Jewish child would have received. He frequently referred to these passages with verbal cues, like quoting the first line of a psalm or outright referencing a story His audience would have been familiar with. Because He had hidden God’s Word in His heart, He carried it with Him everywhere—especially to those places to which He intentionally retreated in order to spend quality time with the Father.
What are three different groups Jesus ministered in?
First, He taught in crowds. He would teach masses from a boat and feed thousands on hillsides. He would be among the citizens healing and performing miracles. While He would engage with large crowds on occasion, the second group—His disciples—is where He spent most of His time. Most of His ministry was spent around the twelve disciples He’d sought out and determined to invest in. This was His community. He lived, traveled and ministered with these men, and He modeled for them what living on purpose looks like. After the twelve, we see that He had an even more intimate relationship with a third group—who many know as “the three.” In His inner circle were Peter, James, and John. This core group was where He modeled a lifestyle of discipleship. These three were included in numerous accounts that the other disciples weren’t.
What is the most difficult part of sharing our lives on this level of intimacy with other women?
Christians have gotten fairly good at sharing the Gospel over the years, but we aren’t good at sharing our lives. We have already noted that you need a regular daily time with the Lord, but it is equally important to allow others into your life so that you can share it with them. You may have a past that you feel shame from. You may feel like you are not special like others you’ve met. I can absolutely relate to you in both of those cases, but here is the deal: If you are a born-again believer, you have already been saved by God’s grace and redeemed by His blood and forgiven from your former ways. You have already received the gift of the Holy Spirit to strengthen you in the areas where you feel deficient. More than ever, we need authentic, transparent believers who share their stories and give glory to God because of it.
What is a good first step to begin sharing your life with others in this context?
First, you need to remember what God has done. Your journey is worth remembering because it reveals how God has worked in your life. You remembering God reveals how God remembered you (and acted on your behalf)! Actively remembering—recalling something to your mind—is important, but it is even more poignant in relation to its opposite: forgetting. As we remember what God has done, let’s also remember one of the most fantastic things God does—more specifically, what He doesn’t do. He doesn’t remember our sins. So, what does that mean? That He does not act on them either. Once you remember, then you should share what God has done.
When making disciples, what are the three major sources of help to draw from?
The Word of God, the Work of God in one’s life, and the Wonder of God, which is the Holy Spirit that lives inside of us as believers.
Is there one of these that has been more important to you in all your years of disciple-making?
My ultimate goal and desire in any discipleship relationship is for the ladies to walk away with a love for God’s Word. If they walk away with that, they will not be able to help but make disciples! It will flow so naturally from their hearts and minds. There is a quote attributed to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry that says, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” As you make disciples, you want to create an atmosphere for a deep love and passion for God’s Word. If you succeed in helping women long for God’s Word, they will always make disciples.
What role does the Holy Spirit play in making disciples?
Every believer has the Holy Spirit as her counselor, which John tells us in John 14:26. We are enabled to do what God has called us to do by the gift of the Holy Spirit within us. You and I need His wisdom and discernment throughout the entire process of making disciples. In order to fill that need, Jesus has fully equipped us to be coworkers in reaching the ends of the earth by sending us His Spirit. He is much like the air we breathe. We can’t see the air we breathe; it’s invisible, yet we need it to survive. He is our constant companion that goes everywhere we do. We may not be able to see Him, but He is always there with us, indwelling us and providing the power we need to advance God’s Kingdom.
What are the main goals you have for the women in your discipleship groups?
Spiritual growth and replication. You want your ladies to grow spiritually and then turn around to help other women grow spiritually, too. The whole point of being a disciple is to follow after Christ and become more like Him. We do this first by getting into the Word. This helps us know God better. When we get to know God better, we love Him more because of what we learn about Him.
The more we love Him, the more we obey Him. As we obey God, He reveals Himself more to us, causing us to know Him better and the whole process to start over. And then with replication, as you lead and give the ladies opportunities to lead as well, you are helping them to establish both the ability to lead a group and to practice leadership in their lives. You do this in small steps: first, by allowing them to share their testimonies. This helps them practice taking ownership of their faith. When women share their testimonies, they are demonstrating leadership without even realizing it.
Do you believe we are all created to follow someone?
Absolutely; it is in our design. The question is whom will you follow? The world or Jesus? The world disciples people all day long. It is time for Christians to rise up and invest in the undiscipled, or wrongly discipled, believers in our churches today. Teach them above all else to love God and love people. Teach them to invite and invest. Teach them to share not only the Gospel, but their very lives. Use the Word of God, the Work of God in your own life and the Wonder of God’s Spirit and empowerment to invest in women. My hope and desire is that this has equipped you to start on your journey and that you will be able to reference the content in this book for years to come.