What is discipleship?
Updated: Aug 27, 2019
At New Hope Church in State College, PA, we value discipleship as one of the most important things a Christian can be involved in throughout his or her life.
I may have heard the term “discipleship” prior to coming to State College, but I had never experienced it and did not understand what it was. I figured it was somehow related to Jesus’ twelve disciples and to the idea of “making disciples”, but what is it really?
Discipleship is the process of meeting regularly with a spiritual mentor who helps you grow in your relationship with God through personal conversation, teaching, challenge, and accountability.
If you are young, it is likely that your discipler/mentor is in a later stage of life than you and has also been an active Christian longer. It works best if this person is old enough to have broader perspective on the things that you struggle with. If you have graduated to the adult world, a discipleship relationship becomes more of a two-way street. He may be leading you in expanding your prayer life, for example, while you are leading him in managing his money wisely. You disciple each other because you have different strengths and different life experience.
It was my discovery, shared by many others, that a discipleship relationship is arguable the most important non-family relationship you can have, particularly when it comes to spiritual things. Many people in our culture highly respect (and spend lots of money on) career mentors, coaches, and counselors because they are proven to be an immensely valuable resource. The church should be the same!
Who will do discipleship with me?
At New Hope we strive to offer discipleship to every person who wants it. You might be discipled by one of our staff, Pastor Ben, or by the other members of our ministry team. Obviously each of us has a personal schedule and capacity for meeting with people, and we have to balance ourselves such that we can meet our other life responsibilities while as many people as possible are discipled.
How do I get started?
Approach any of the people mentioned above and ask! We will set up a meeting with you or get you connected with someone who can. When I was a freshman in college, I was afraid of asking my leaders to meet with me. I was afraid that they didn’t have time or had more important things to do. I was afraid that I wasn’t old enough or important enough or hadn’t been around long enough. Don’t fear these things. Just walk up to us and ask! We will be delighted to talk with you!
by Robbie Parks