Monday, June 7, 2010

One-to-one: Chapter 7

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

One-to-one: A Discipleship Handbook
Chapter 7 - Other considerations

De Witt now begins to draw things to a close with some final things to consider in one-to-one work.

1. Accountability - as one-to-one work is by nature private, it is important to ensure you have accountability measures in place, in light of the risks mentioned in chapter 2 (intensity, control, legalism, etc) but also that you are not teaching heresy, being legalistic, that you are remaining prayerful, that you are giving appropriate advice and that you are not being drained by the relationship.

This can be achieved a number of ways, the most common of which is with a prayer partner(s). She also suggests that someone in the leadership of your church or group knows that you are catching up with someone in that fellowship.

I found this a helpful point. I suspect, as ministry wives, that we do not always ensure these types of accountability measures are in place. Whether it is to a trusted prayer partner, or even our husband (as the leader of the gathering), it is important to establish a structure where we can be accountable for our one-to-one relationships.
 Have any of you done this and how has it worked?

2. Pastoral Issues
Confidentiality - we want to be an entirely trustworthy confidante for our one-to-one partner. At the same time we want to be careful about promising entire confidentiality. There are some circumstances which we are required to report by law. Also, it is unwise to agree to complete confidentiality when major issues arise, such as major psychological problems, issues of physical or sexual abuse, self-harm, etc. We are unlikely to be equipped to deal with such scenarios and emotionally we will need support in order to support our one-to-one partner.

God's sovereignty and our responsibility
We must always remember the truth of God's loving sovereignty and ultimate responsibility to take care of his children. Knowing this will give us more confidence to keep persevering with someone who is sharing some distressing personal struggles, without that sense of panic at our total inexperience of helplessness. (p149)
De Witt goes on to give some helpful pointers for when to recommend someone see a professional counsellor, such as a problem persisting for several months, they are very depressed, suicidal or have a persistent sleep problem. Even if someone does require professional help, they will still benefit from their time with you - as you continue to look at biblical and spiritual truths together.

3. Moving on

This should be an exciting time as we see our one-to-one partner move to to live the Christian life more effectively as they are more rooted and established in Christ. (p155)
However, it can also be tricky as people can end up feeling rejected. It is a time which can require care. We will want to make sure they are in other Christian relationships which will help them persevere in their faith (eg home groups, prayer partners, etc)

Similarly, it can be hard for us to 'let them go'. It is tempting to enjoy being looked up to and depended on for guidance. In the end though, we want them to grow in their dependence on God.

Things to think about:
  • Do you have an accountability group or partner? Do you need to find one?
  • Can you identify when someone needs professional help?
  • Are you able to 'let go' of your one-to-one partners, encouraging them to continue to depend on God for their spiritual growth and maturity?

Next Week: Resources (Ch 8), Appendices and Conclusions

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