Monday, May 3, 2010

One-to-one: Chapter 2

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

One-to-one: A Discipleship Handbook
Chapter 2 – Getting Involved

De Witt starts the chapter dealing with some usual arguments why someone would not consider doing one-to-one ministry – such as feeling inferior or incompetent, it not being practical or it feeling unnatural.

However, I suspect for those of us who are ministry wives, while we certainly may not feel up to the task, we know that we have a position in which it is logical, easy and perhaps even expected that we might want to catch up with other Christian women to read the bible together. What a privilege! People may expect us to want to read the bible, be keen to do so with younger Christians and will feel like you are ‘doing’ your job if you ask people to read the bible with you. Instead of feeling overwhelmed or frustrated by such expectations, perhaps we could see it as an opportunity and grab it.

She goes on to list some qualifications for one-to-one ministry. The main one is to be a Christian holding firm to the gospel of Christ and seeking to live for God’s glory (p29). All of the following we can continue to grow in!:
  • we must have a strong personal commitment to the Lord Jesus – we need to be moving forward in our relationship with God
  • we will need to love – to pray, to be patient, etc
  • we will need to have a working knowledge of the Bible – to understand God’s basic plan of salvation and how it unfolds, understand types of literature in the bible and how to approach them
  • we will need to be honest and simple – honest about our lives and struggles (appropriately) and simple in our presentation of ideas
  • we will need to be prepared to count the cost – it will take time and emotional energy

Well, who should we meet with? Someone who is willing to meet! But especially consider:
  • non-Christians who are interested in matters of faith and finding out about Jesus
  • new or young Christians – those recently converted
  • those who will be able to teach others, who need some training or equipping

For those of us in ministry, chances are we know of more people who could benefit from one-to-one discipleship than we could possibly take on. However, as we are also often privy to confidential information, we may also have a bigger picture of the needs of many, and therefore (especially in consultation with our husbands) may find it easy to decide on one or two women to catch up with.

De Witt goes on to list some of the potential dangers of one-to-one work:
  • intensity – unhealthy intensity can develop in a one-to-one relationship. Therefore it is recommended that only women mentor women (and likewise men, men). One should also be aware of the potential for same-sex attraction and how to deal with it. If that is a potential risk-area for you, you should strongly re-consider whether one-to-one work is workable for you.
  • control - where the (usually) initiator holds too much authority over the ‘disciple’.
  • legalism – concern for personal godliness can overflow intro a list of rules and regulations for the younger Christian.
  • over-dependence – looking to the disciple for instruction & guidance, rather than God’s word
  • pride – on behalf of the discipler, being looked up to and seen as a ‘guru’ can easily make us proud of ‘our achievements’ with the person.
  • isolation – if those meeting together are not part of the church body

Things to think about:
  • If you do not currently meet with someone one-to-one, are you in a position to consider doing so?
  • What is holding you back? (both legitimate reasons and excuses!)
  • Is there someone you know who you could consider meeting with?

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