“I’m not ‘being discipled’ this year on campus, what should I do? I want to grow in my faith but I feel like I’m missing out on something important.”
Dear student who wants to grow in their faith: take heart. You can still grow even if no one has asked if they can disciple you on campus.
This is something I learned early on when I was in University. My friends were being discipled, and I wasn’t. Aside from feeling a little left out, I falsely believed that I just had to wait around for someone to ask. In the meantime, my spiritual growth could wait—I had a lot of assignments and school work to do anyways.
I couldn’t have been more wrong. As I look back on the time I spent waiting on someone to ask me if I’d like to be discipled by them, I missed out on growing in my faith. These are a few pieces of wisdom I wish I knew at the time:
You are a disciple of Jesus
Following Jesus means that you are a disciple of Jesus. Don’t lose sight of that truth even if you feel discouraged that you don’t have a formal discipleship relationship on campus or in church.
Jesus is the most significant discipleship relationship you will ever have.
Being a disciple of Jesus means that you trust him as Lord, follow him, and seek to obey him. Over time, with help from the Holy Spirit, your character will change and transform to look like his. In order to help you grow as a disciple of Jesus, God also uses the bible and the Church (our spiritual family).
Three questions to ask yourself if you want to grow as a disciple of Jesus:
- Am I reading the bible and applying truths to my life?
- Am I listening to and walking in step with the Holy Spirit?
- Am I investing in my spiritual family (the Church)?
Your value and worth stems directly from God who is working to develop you every day. It’s not related to whether or not someone thinks you’re ‘ready’ or ‘worthy’ to disciple. Nope. If no one selects you for discipleship it doesn’t make you any less of a disciple of Jesus than if you are selected. There is no spiritual hierarchy based on how others view you in your spiritual growth journey. The family of God doesn’t work that way.
Everyone—including you—has something to offer
If you imagine your life, or journey as a disciple of Jesus, as a house – everyone in the Church has bricks they can build into your house. Growth occurs in the context of community, in which everyone has something to offer as you develop in your faith. Those bricks may look different from each other, but they’re still bricks that strengthen your foundation.
Sometimes growing in community involves the initiative of others, where they seek you out and desire to build into your life. Or they seek you out so that you can build into theirs. Most of the time however, it involves the initiative of YOU. Seek out other Christians who can build into your life in a variety of contexts, and reach out to others whom you feel God is calling you to encourage and build up in their faith.
“Do everything you can to learn as much as you can from as many people as you can. Everybody has gifts from God and you can learn from that.”Gregg Hinzelman
Titus 2 speaks to the idea of brick building in Church relationships. Older women are to teach younger women, and older men teach younger men. It even suggests what younger men and women need to learn. In Matthew 28:18-20, Jesus commands his disciples to go and make disciples of all nations. The New Testament includes ‘one another’ commands which explain how disciples of Jesus are to relate in community. These commands occur 100 times in 94 verses. Some examples of these ‘one another’ commands relate to spiritual unity, loving each other, being humble, and prayer.
Pray and ask
Scripture clearly tells us that we should teach each other and build up one another in the faith. Pray and ask that God would provide people in the Church family to help you grow as a disciple of Jesus. Look for a variety of people of different ages, backgrounds, and life experiences that differ from yours. This may be the biggest relational investment that you can make this year, that can yield spiritual fruit for years to come.
You have something unique and powerful to offer to others as they grow as disciples of Jesus. Pray and ask that God would develop your giftings and skills so that you can minister to others around you.
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