Not so long ago if you asked someone “what one thing would you like more of?” then the answer would have been “money”. Today I think that has changed. Today I think people want more “time”. Free time, spare time, relaxed time, time to think, time to binge watch Netflix shows. Time is the new god many people sacrifice their lives unto. Giving money in our wealthy society is much easier now than giving time – to give someone time shows you really do care about them.
Sadly, time – or rather the perceived lack thereof – is one of the great challenges to church life in the western world. How often are people too busy for church, too busy to meet with other Christians, too busy to make new friends and share the good news with them and too busy to serve and love others? The Christian life demands an investment in time that means many churches are struggling to be who Christ wants us to be.
I must say that it is a pleasure to be in a church that truly values “serving together”. “Serving together” is one of the 3 key strands of our vision to glorify God and at SNAC there are many examples of servants who invest countless hours serving others. What a great encouragement that is! May there be more of it.
So, I want to give you a time investment challenge for this year: why not make 2017 the year you intentionally invest in one-to-one discipleship of another Christian?
One-to-one discipleship simply means deliberately investing time in someone else with the prayer and hope to see them grow to be more like Jesus.
WHY? Firstly, because it’s actually what we are called as Christians to do. Consider the commands:
• Love one another (John 13:34)
• Instruct one another (Rom 15:14)
• Speak the truth in love to one another (Eph 4:15)
• Pray for one another (James 5:16; Eph 6:18)
• Confess your sins to each other (James 5:16)
• Build one another up by what you say (1 Cor 12:25)
• Spur one another on to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24)
From the time Paul first trained Timothy, the history of the church has been full of older Christians intentionally discipling younger Christians in all these ways. One-to-one discipleship has been one of God’s vehicles for keeping his church alive through two millennia.
Of course, these things also happen in our Sunday gatherings and our mid-week Gospel Teams. But these public and group settings cannot substitute for the individual interaction, the personal challenge, the honest prayer and the genuine loving fellowship that happens one-to-one.
So HOW? Happily, God has not made it rocket science. He has given his Word, his Spirit, Prayer and each other as means of growth easily applied in the one-to-one setting. So here are some suggestions to get you started:
1. If you have never done this kind of thing before, then ask an older disciple to meet with you one-to-one this year to disciple and train you.
2. Buy a copy of the book “One-to-one: A discipleship hand book”. It is a great practical guide to intentional discipleship.
3. Talk to your Gospel Team leader about who you can be involved in one-to-one discipleship with.
As a Christian who knows the days are evil and the time is short before Jesus returns then I hope
you want to make the most of the time you have.
My contention is that meeting one-to-one to disciple someone is a precious investment of your time that has wonderful eternal value in the lives of others. The question is: do you have the time to make that kind of difference?