As we continue our series on discipleship, (Read Part 1 and Part 2.), I want to address the importance of making disciples who then also make disciples. But to do that, we as leaders have to talk about our own growth as disciples.
Our goal is to makes disciples as we lead women. So, let’s first define discipleship as an ongoing process of conforming to the image of Christ and obedience to His commands. Let’s then define disciple as a learner, apprentice, or student following after Christ.
John Amstutz, consultant for Foursquare Missions and founder of Central Valley School of Ministry, said this: “Who a leader becomes and is as a person is of greater significance than ability or accomplishments, for what we do flows out of who we are.”
And to make disciples, that assumes that we are disciples, which is an ongoing and life-long process of spiritual growth.
As we are filled up in our own relationship with Christ, we are able to pour back out into those we serve and lead. I call that “overflow ministry.” We must be teachable ourselves.
If we are going to develop leaders, we must disciple. But the opposite is also true: if we are going to disciple, we must develop leaders. Recently Dr. Eric Geiger wrote an article titled, Leadership Development is Part of Discipleship.
Though not all women will teach a class, speak to an audience, or organize a ministry, every follower of Christ is to lead and serve somehow. Our job is to disciple in a way that women discover their passions, gifts, and awareness of needs around them so that they are serving just as God created them to serve.
So, it’s time to evaluate.
- How are you currently developing as a disciple?
- How are you discipling other women?
- How are you developing leaders among those you disciple?
Lori McDaniel, Global Mission Strategist for the International Mission Board, asked, “What if the numbers of women being fed at a Bible study are not as important as those that can feed themselves?” Sometimes we just have to refocus our aim. It’s important to pour into women, but it’s just as important to lead women to feed themselves so they in turn can feed others.
Here are some things you can do to set this kind of atmosphere among the women you serve:
- Pray for hearts to be tender to His Word and to transforming into His image.
- Talk continually about the transformation of lives, not success of numbers in attendance.
- Be strategic about a plan for discipleship. Set clear steps of growth.
- Teach the basics over and over. They never get old.
- Encourage women to grasp those basics and then go deeper in their commitment, obedience, steps of faith, and prayers.
- Give women a vision so they are not satisfied staying where they are, whether they are brand new believers or long-time women of faith.
- Be clear about how to engage and step into discipleship. Be clear about where you are heading. Give them the vision.
What would you add? What is your discipleship plan for women you serve and lead?