A note from Mary Margaret West: Discipleship is crucial to us walking out our calling as women who love and follow Jesus. There are girls in your life right now who need you to show them what it looks like to be faithful to God with your life, and how to grow in His likeness. Lindsay brings a powerful challenge today that we would all be wise to listen to.
Sometimes curiosity gets the best of me, and now, thanks to social media polls, thoroughly researched answers are at my fingertips. Ok, perhaps that’s not the most scientific method, but I can resolve my curiosity quickly.
Awhile ago, I asked this question:
If you are not actively discipling someone, is it because:
A: There’s not enough time
B: I don’t know where to start
To reveal my ignorance, I expected most to label time their hinderance. Instead, the poll results leaned heavily in favor of answer B. Women, who know Jesus, who are gifted and intelligent, who have everything they need to obey the Great Commission, who are commissioned by a loving Father – feel stuck.
Sweet sister, if this describes you, first know you are not alone, but also, please understand this uncertainty is not your reality. If Jesus is Lord in your life, you are qualified to make a disciple. You CAN know where to start; so let’s begin.
For the last decade, I have discipled young women. This does not make me an expert, but because Jesus has qualified me, I can share what I have learned. I always begin the same way –
Open your Bible to Matthew 16: He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter replied, “You are Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. And I tell you, you are Peter…” Matthew 16:15-18a, ESV
Jesus reveals His heart for His disciples with this question, which means the same should be heavy on our hearts as we pour into young women. “Who do you say that Jesus is?” The answer shapes our behavior, attitude, relationships, and identity. Who is Jesus? There is no other place to start.
Maybe I should draft another poll before I type this, but in my *unverified by social media* opinion, I believe we feel ill equipped to begin discipleship because we have substituted the question Jesus actually asks for an inquiry by our culture: “Who do I say you will become?”
Sweet sister, nowhere in Scripture are we asked to mold young women into the likeness of ourselves, ensure their perfect behavior, or secure their future path and career choice. Maybe these are markers of cultural mentorship, but they are never milestones of Biblical discipleship.
Look again at the question Jesus poses to his followers, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon [Peter] answers this question correctly; he recognizes Jesus’ righteous authority. In response, Jesus says, “And I tell you, you are Peter…” When we put Jesus in his rightful place in our lives, He tells us who we are! This is the reason we do not need our futures seamlessly planned or to feel pressure to map out a perfect path for young women. They do not need us to know exactly how their lives will play out; they simply need us to point them toward Jesus. Jesus, through the power of the Holy Spirit, will fill in every other gap.
If you have ever hesitated to make a disciple because you wonder where your meetings will go, or if it will be “successful,” may I encourage you that I stand with you in that place? But let us not stand still in fear; let us move our feet from that place we stand and GO! The women of the next generation do not need us to begin with a perfect end in mind; they need us to start with the perfection of Jesus consuming our minds, and go make disciples.
Lindsay Smith is a follower of Jesus living in Texas. She is the wife of a football coach and the mom of a precious son, who joined their family through the miracle of adoption. She is a writer, coffee connoisseur, and “expert” shoe shopper. For the last decade, she has been discipling teenage girls and believes God is doing a mighty work in the next generation. Connect with Lindsay: Instagram