Discipling Redefined – An Introspective

As a younger man I had the privilege of serving many people that were followers of Christ. This type of service was unique in that it was highly relational and involved a lot of time, intentional friendship, prayer, and challenges. I was discipling other believers in growing in their faith. Helping them to move from simply being people that claimed Christ as savior, into people that were closing following his teachings in such a way that permeated their life. They became “disciples” of Christ, not just Christians.

Over the past 10 years, the type of discipleship that I’m doing for other disciples has shifted. I don’t believe that my current role is better or worse, but it is different enough that it has given me pause on several occasions. What’s changed?

I’m a husband before I’m a minister
I’m a dad before I’m a minister (4 kids)
A husband and dad have large time consuming responsibilities (even if they are sometimes quite enjoyable) that will take precedent over more bible studies and other meetings
My job changed from Youth Pastor to Adjunct Professor + Ministry Coach/Consultant

I still get to wear my discipleship hat at home, and when I volunteer with a youth group at church. Yet the random availability of times where I’m available for late night “hanging out” with students has dramatically declined. I’m not even leading a weekly Bible study with teens in it (though I’m doing something similar though much lighter on content). Does this mean Im no longer a disciple maker? Am I missing out on the Great Commission because I’ve sold out and gone suburbia? I don’t think so.
-My wife and I are discipling each other
-My wife and I are discipling our kids
– I am discipling (by way of coaching) several ministry leaders as a part of my normal job duties.

Ultimately the real change is not so much in my time or heart, but in the “who” of my discipling efforts. I honestly miss pouring into a larger group of teens, but then I’m empowering many more who are able to do that for the sake of the Kingdom. Plus I’m learning how difficult it is to disciple your own teenagers that share your last name, and don’t go home with someone else after youth group! If I can survive this, I will know even more about discipleship. 🙂


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