Monday, April 26, 2010

One-to-one: Chapter 1

This series was originally posted on In Tandem, a blog for ministry wives

One-to-one: A Discipleship Handbook

Chapter 1: What is one-to-one work?

One-to-one ministry can be incredibly varied – it can be reading the bible with an unbeliever, training a potential leader and encouraging a new or struggling Christian. It can be highly structured with a time of bible reading and prayer, or more informal as people chat over a coffee or while out walking. The common factor is “the idea of pointing someone to Jesus, to encourage them to trust and obey the gospel of Christ”. (p1)

As we saw last week, the definition de Witt uses is:
one Christian taking the initiative with another individual to help them to know Christ better and obey him more fully, through studying the Scriptures, prayer (for and with them) and sharing one’s life with them – and leaving the results to God. (p2)
She acknowledges that in this relationship it is more normal for one person to have more knowledge and experience as a Christian from which the other can learn. I found this distinction helpful for as I read this book, it didn’t always easily fit into the framework of a peer relationship.

De Witt notes that as we look at Scripture, there are many commands of how the community of believers are to serve one another – encouraging, loving, instructing, building up, spurring on, praying, etc. From these commands we get a strong idea that the Christian life is corporate:

God’s plan is that we live and grow as Christian together. But this only happens as we each focus on other individuals, seeking to help, encourage, teach and so on. Sadly we are often rather poor at this. Our relationships with other Christians so easily end up focusing on sport, home improvements, or the latest disaster with our children, rather than on Christ” (p5)
What goals should we have in one-to-one work?

1. Witnessing to non-Christians – teaching and modelling the gospel and praying for them

2. Growing Christians in their faith:
  • helping them stand firm in Jesus and mature to be more like him
  • to know God better through his word
  • to grow in prayerfulness
  • to address issues of confusion, lifestyle or wrong expectations
3. Seeing individuals equipped to serve others in the body of Christ.

Using the language of Ephesians 1,
We want people to be rooted and established in Christ, confident in their faith and growing in love and godliness as they know God better, so that the body of Christ is built up and matured as members serve one another, so that God, being seen and worshipped for who he really is, is glorified. (p14)
And, if we still need convincing – she lists the main advantages of one-to-one work:
  • understanding – there is more time to study passages and doctrines in depth and ensure understanding of them
  • application - can have deeper and more personal application than in a group setting
  • example – can actually see another Christian as they live out the Christian life, in its joys and struggles
  • accountability – it is a safe environment to share struggles
  • training – a great opportunity to train others in preparing bible studies, talks, or in doing one-to-one ministry themselves

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