How Do I Find Someone To Disciple Me?
Before we dive into some guidelines to help us find someone to disciple us, we want to first clarify that your spiritual growth and maturity is dependent on your relationship with Jesus, not on finding the perfect person to disciple you. God teaches, convicts, confronts, and comforts us through His Word -- and if you are studying Scripture for yourself, you are being discipled. And yet, God delights to use His people in this great work, people like pastors, counselors, godly friends, and disciplemakers to partner with us in understanding Truth and becoming more like Jesus.
One of the most beautiful aspects of discipleship is we never outgrow our need to be discipled.
In fact, the most dangerous trap we could fall into would be to consider ourselves “above” being shepherded and discipled by someone else. Discipleship is a tool that keeps us humble, engaged, and equipped to follow Jesus with everything we have.
So how do we find someone to disciple us?
Unfortunately, there aren’t easy solutions like an online discipleship matchmaker. But God can use the desire to be discipled as a means to grow your faith so trust Him to provide.
Here are a few guidelines when looking for someone to disciple you:
It might seem like a simple place to start, but God delights to provide for our needs. The best place to start is by talking with Him about it. “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.” (1 John 5:14)
Don’t look for perfect, look for mature.
Many people put off discipleship because they are waiting for someone like Apostle Paul to resurrect from the dead and mentor them until the end of time. God always uses imperfect vessels for His perfect purpose. However, there is a difference between immaturity and imperfections. We are all sinners stumbling toward Jesus. And somehow, by grace, He uses the imperfections to reveal His glory.
Age is not always the sign of maturity. So pay attention to the fruit in this person’s life and see if they stir up your affection for Jesus.
Remember that the relationship isn’t one-sided.
One of the biggest mistakes in any discipleship relationship is assuming that one person does all the “giving” and one person does all the “receiving.” This mentality creates very unhealthy relationships. Discipleship is mutually beneficial, because God desires to work in the heart of both parties. Even if it means “bearing with one another in love,” each person is learning to love and lean on Jesus in different ways.
This will also help in viewing other people as “projects,” which is very dangerous and unbiblical.
You aren’t looking for just one person.
Many people think they are looking for one magnificent person to speak into every area of their life during discipleship, but this simply isn’t realistic. Discipleship is not finding another human to be their answer to everything (that would be idolatry). Rather, God can bring several people into your life that speak to several (or the same) subjects. The goal is to know Christ -- and oftentimes He brings people of various backgrounds at various times to help us achieve that goal.
It’s the beauty of the body of Christ.
Don’t run away just because it gets too personal.
Discipleship is designed to be intrusive. Jesus got too personal for a lot of people -- but His intentions were always for freedom and joy. In the same way, when you invite someone into your life, they are going to see the messes and the masks. But that’s okay. Let them in and ask them to help you pull it into the light.
God has rich blessings waiting for you in the “too personal” moments of discipleship.
While there may be “uncomfortable” moments and conversations that take place in healthy discipleship, you should feel safe and welcomed. Jesus invited others into relationship and handled the fragile with care. This doesn’t mean you have absolutely everything in common with this person, but it shouldn’t feel like pulling teeth every time you meet up either.
Get ready to take up your cross.
Once you have entered into discipleship with someone, be willing and prepared to make sacrifices for the relationship. Discipleship is always going to cost you something.
This could not be clearer in the Gospels. In Matthew 4:19, Jesus speaks to Peter and Andrew, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men," and "immediately they left their nets and followed him." Then He speaks to James and John and "immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him." Whether it’s family, life plans, or fishing nets, the call to become a disciple of Jesus is the call to forsake one thing for another.
Sometimes people come into discipleship with a fairytale idea of what it will really looks like. They like the idea of being discipled but when it comes to sacrificing something they want (or being inconvenienced), discipleship suddenly feels too demanding. Discipleship is not designed to be effortless -- but it is designed to be worth the sacrifice.
“And Jesus said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23, ESV)