Over on DiscipleBlog.com I have launched a new series called D.I.S.C.I.P.L.E.S.H.I.P. – Twelve Tips to help you become a more effective discipler of children. Here is the first one. To keep up with all twelve, subscribe to the DiscipleBlog.com RSS feed.
D = Develop a Relationship
“And He walks with me and He talks with me;
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there;
None other has ever known.”
Every notice that Jesus’ primary method of discipleship was based upon relationships? Jesus didn’t establish schools, write curriculum, or host seminars. While He certainly did teach the masses – he discipled in relationship with those who were close to Him, and it was THOSE disciples who turned the world upside down after He left them.
As I look back over some fifteen plus years of professional children’s ministry and many more years of just life ministry, it is those I discipled relationally who I see producing the greatest fruit. They are ones in Bible college, becoming missionaries, and going into ministry. While I am NOT assuming any credit for their godly choices, I am saying that being discipled prayed a part in their spiritual formation.
If you want to be a discipler of children, it is no secret that I recommend DiscipleLand if you are a church leader and would be delighted if you used Awesome Adventure as a tool for one on one studies, but the first thing you need is NOT curriculum – it is to build some relationships with kids that are deeper than the educational or “fun” level.
It may just be that some of your best disciples you never formally “discipled” through printed lessons – you just walked with them and became a part of their spiritual journey.
Whether you lead an entire children’s ministry with hundreds of children or teach a small class or volunteer in a club with a small group – pray through your kids and ASK GOD TO SHOW YOU A CHILD YOU CAN HAVE A DEEPER RELATIONSHIP WITH. And become their friend, not just their leader or teacher.
Jesus is my Master, my Lord, my Redeemer, my Savior, my Creator and my Guide, but best of all He is my Friend – and it is that relationship that spurs on my spiritual growth. Yoy may be many things to the kids in your ministry, but when you become their friend, you begin to truly impact their spiritual walk.
What does a friendship with a child look like?
- You know their name
- You know about their family
- You have some common interests
- You pray for them
- You look for them
- You ask them relational questions
- You get together with them
- You remember their important dates
- You love them unconditionally
Take some time and think through the kids God has brought into your life – is there one or two that you could pour your life in to? A few you could become a friend to? That you could disciple intentionally? The impact on their life is indescribable!
GO FOR IT! What are you waiting for?