Thursday, March 02, 2006

Ideas for Discipling (Acts 14)

We had a wonderful District Midwinter Retreat 4 weeks ago! The theme was taken right from the pages of the Bible. “Follow the Leader” based on Luke 9:23. “If anyone would come after me, he should deny him/herself and take up his/her cross daily and follow me.” We looked closely at discipleship and what it truly means to be following Christ. Kevin beautifully delivered the hard to hear message of discipleship, discipleship that stems from a thriving and fresh relationship with Jesus the Christ.

Acts 14 gives a little information on how Paul and Barnabas discipled the early Christians. In v. 22, Luke uses the word strengthening to describe one of their actions. In Greek the word is episterizo. A verb meaning: to confirm more, strengthen more, and establish more in the faith. Which got me thinking…what are we doing to confirm each other more in the faith, to strengthen each other more in the faith, and establish each other more in the faith? So, I brainstormed 20 ideas you can use to get involved in doing such a task.

Ideas on ways to disciple yourself and one another:

1. Find an accountability partner of the same sex. One whom you can meet with regularly to confess sins, struggles, and pray with.
2. Start a small group of accountability partners to meet with regularly. Like a guy’s or girl’s accountability group. Keep these groups the same sex as yourself (makes sharing personal things a little more comfortable). Plan out the specifics of what you will discuss each week and keep focus on that.
3. Ask someone to be your weekly prayer partner. Meet each week outside of church to pray for one another.
4. Start a weekly prayer group to meet at church. Spend time praying for one another, your youth group, your local church, and God’s Church around the world.
5. Ask your pastor if he has any discipleship materials for you to use. If he doesn’t, he’ll love finding you something!
6. Start a Bible study outside of church. Maybe before or after school.
7. Use the Lectio Divina Bible study series from the Beacon Hill Press and Wesleyan Publishing House.
8. Use the Life Change Series of Bible studies for in depth studies of individual books of the Bible.
9. After you finish going through a particular Bible study, ask someone else if they would be interested in having you take them through it.
10. Memorize portions of Scripture such as a Psalm, Beatitudes, and other favorite verses.
11. Buy a set of 5’ x 7’ index cards and write your favorite Bible verses on them and post them in places you frequent and see a lot of. (e.g. Car, bathroom, dresser, locker, notebook, kitchen, microwave, bedroom, mirror, friend’s back, TV, radio, and any other place you visit a lot.)
12. Attend church regularly. Essential to being a disciple.
13. Get involved in helping out at your local church. Ask your pastor(s) for ways you can serve others through the ministries of the church.
14. Ask a friend to join you in reading through a particular book of the Bible. (e.g. John, Acts, Galatians, etc.)
15. Find a special place around town or in your house where you can go to be alone. Spend this time in prayer.
16. Use this same special place to meditate on portions of Scripture.
17. Find a good book on the spiritual disciplines and read it with a friend (e.g., Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster, With Unveiled Faces by Keith Drury).
18. Attend Sunday school regularly.
19. Bring a notepad and your Bible with you to every church service. This way you can follow along and keep notes on the sermons or lessons being taught.
20. Carry your Bible, journal, and notebook everywhere you go. This way if you ever have to wait or have nothing to do, you can pull it out and start reading and writing about what you read.

I’m sure there are a million more ideas on ways to disciple yourself and others. This is just a quick brainstorm I had. If you have any others please suggest them! Any suggestions, comments, new ideas, are more than welcomed! Thanks and I hope this helps someone!


SlimDuck said...

One of my biggest encouragemnets for discipleship is having a freind that I can say anything to and he can say anything to me as well. No holds barred. I actually encourage him to ask the tough questions that he knows I don't want him to ask. My wife actually enjoys that I have someone like that to talk to because she definately sees the changes in me for it.

Tim Sheets said...

Slim, thanks for stopping by!

I totally agree with you about having somebody you can vent to and speak your heart. It's a great thing! Especially when that person isn't afraid to ask you tough questions. I appreciate the people in my life that do that. Even thought it may by hard to face them, it's a part of being a disciple of Christ.

Thanks for sharing!


Christy said...

One of the things that has really helped me grow the most in my Christian walk is my Covenant group. We have been meeting for about 7 weeks, it is only women, and we get very honest with each other. We follow a format for our meetings, so it keeps them (meetings) from turning into just a talkfest. I never knew that a group like that would help me SO much. It is a chance for me to share where I am at spiritual and where I have messed up. It is a really encouraging, and sometimes humbling, time. I would encourage everyone to get involved in a Covenant group (it is different than a bible study group). Oh, two more great books to read are, Reflecting God by Tracy, Cockerill, Demaray, and Harper, and Invitation to a Journey by Mulholland. We just finished both of those books in my Spiritual Formation class at NBC and they were GREAT, and challenging!

yourblogreader said...


Christian discipline is kind of like baking a cake. It takes lots of steps to get what you want. To bake a cake, you first get out the mixer, bowl, spoon and cake mix. And then you preheat the oven. Next, you mix the batter with the required ingredients. And,lastly you put the cake in the oven and wait for the tasty results. Christlike discipline takes many steps before you get to "eat the cake", or see the results. Lots of Christians miss steps when practicing discipline, and then they become discouraged at the end results. As followers of Christ we are commanded to follow Jesus Christ, step by step, and to finish what He has asked of us. The end results of baking a cake are enjoying a delicious desert. The end results of being a disciple of Christ is seeing Christ in heaven. Now, go bake a cake!!!!!!!!