We can't operate with preconceived notions about what to give the person next. Instead, we must get our cues from God.
The way I have done this is to take an extended time at least once a month to pray about the people God has allowed me to work with spiritually. To discern what I need to do next with each one, I consider these four questions and write down my thoughts regarding each one:
1. Where is he now? At what point is he, in his spiritual development? What has he already learned, and what progress has he made? What does he have going for him in his Christian life?
2. What is he ready for? Jesus said, "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear" (John 16:12). Here he modeled the principle of waiting for the right time to teach.
3. What is most urgent? Some problems can be lived with for a long time without seriously impeding growth, while others are more urgent. What will help him go on to the next level of maturity, or break a logjam and get him moving again?
4. How can I help him? What can I do to help him meet the need which is most urgent? There are a number of ways I can do this imaginatively. Maybe we need to spend time together reading and praying over the Scriptures. Or perhaps I should give him a certain responsibility, or ask him to help me with something.
Thursday, March 16, 2006
Staying on Track in Discipleship
In my last post I referred to the pattern of discipleship that Jim Petersen calls "spiritual parenting." He goes on in his book to describe how he stays on track in the discipleship process. He has also written about this in an article called How to Pass on Your Convictions: