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Disciple making and church leadership.


Disciple-Maker As Life Counselor

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Not long after I gave my life to Christ, I was confronted with one of the first difficult situations that I was asked to provide “biblical” guidance into.  A friend of ours approached me, seeking help to try and make sense out of how to handle the circumstance she now found herself in.  She was a young, single woman, who had just found out that she was pregnant with the child of a man who she realized that she would never see again.  She had recently given her life to Christ and she wasn’t clear on what her new found faith required of her now as she was confronted with the realization that she was going to be a single mother. 

She was still living with her parents, and knew that this would absolutely crush them if they found out about it. 

The two key questions that were pressing in on her at the time were - what to do with the pregnancy, and how to tell her parents about what had happened.  She came to me and asked me for my advice on both of these critical decisions.   Her question of me was this, “What should she do?”
Repeatedly, throughout our life’s journey as disciple-making Christ followers, many of us will be asked to give guidance to people in all kinds of different life circumstances, people who were struggling with all types of difficulties. 

Over and over again, God will intersect our lives with someone to whom we have been asked to give counsel related to significant “life” issues, like marriage, parenting, sexual identity, forgiveness, adultery, sexual abuse, addictions, work, school, sanctity of life, health, finances, suffering, you name it.

As Jesus was going about His life, His path continuously intersected with the lives of other people.  Along with demonstrating, and verbally communicating, something about Himself, with some of the people with whom His life Jesus intersected, He would also provide guidance and counsel to them.  And the reason why he would do this was to help them:


UNDERSTAND and make sense of what they had experienced and/or heard from Him
“… And His disciples came to Him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field’.  And He answered and said, ‘The one who sows the good seed is….’”(Mt. 13:36b-37)

MAKE DECISIONS ABOUT
what they needed to do with what they had experienced and/or heard.

"Jesus said to him, ‘If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come follow Me.’” (Mt. 19:21)


Understand how to LIVE OUT the meaning/application of what they had experienced and/or heard: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” (Mt. 16:24)

I truly believe that an integral part of the life of the Christ follower is that, as our lives intersect with others, and we are invited into their life’s journey, God calls us to act as their “spiritual guidance counselor”.  God asks us to help GUIDE these individuals through the internal PROCESSING and DECISION-MAKING that they may be confronted with and going through, related to one or more of the different facets of Christian spirituality that they are experiencing, learning about, and seeing lived out in us (or in other Christ-followers). 


Just like with Jesus, God may call us to provide GUIDANCE and counsel to these individuals to help them:


UNDERSTAND and makes sense of what they are learning and experiencing from us (or other Jesus followers) about Jesus and about the Christ-following way-of-life.


MAKE DECISIONS related to what they are learning and experiencing.


LIVE OUT the meaning and personal implications of their decisions. 

Here are some of the ways that God may call us to GUIDE them:

  • Listening to them, hearing their hearts, and allowing them to openly and candidly share their concerns, their fears, their struggles, their questions, their doubts… 
  • Sharing with them from our own personal experiences and/or the experiences of others
  • Talking with them about biblical truths, biblical passages/verses/stories that are particularly relevant for their situation
  • Referring them to others who can be of help to them
  • Pointing them to helpful resources (such as websites, books, DVDs, CDs, podcasts, etc…)
  • Praying with them
  • Continuing to authentically model for them the “way of life” that God is calling them to

These are just a few examples of the many ways in which we can help others understand, make decisions about, and practically apply biblical truths and biblical principles to their personal life experience.  It is in this sense, that a disciple-maker really is a spiritual guidance counselor.


(this posting was written by Keith Tolley, President, Vision New England) 
 



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