If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. 2 Cor 5:17
Investing in God’s people from life to life
These pages are designed to aid study or investigation for Christian discipleship through individual Bible study, Cell groups, Home groups, or meeting one to one. The questions could be used alone allowing each person to use their own Bible.
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This page is aimed at helping a more mature believer come alongside someone who is less mature in a mentoring, or life on life help, relationship.
The essence of why we are meeting up with a person is all about Jesus. It is not primarily about us and what we have to offer, nor about them and their issues, hopes and desires. Even if the stated purpose of the meeting is to help in some area of life or ministry, it is good to keep the spiritual perspective alive. If you stay with mechanics the area of ministry often descends to human effort and the Lord is excluded. Keep Jesus in focus and you won’t go too far wrong!
Whatever stage of spiritual development a person might be in, the hints on this page will be appropriate. It may be necessary to tailor the advice to the individuals maturity, and to change things to accommodate your different personalities.
The following are some pointers to help you think through where you are going when meeting up. Normally the more mature sets the course, even if it is done in agreement with the person being helped. This requires thinking time outside of the actual meeting.
The following pages give some background biblical basis for what follows. It is hoped that by looking into them, you will gain a clearer view of how you engage with God in this process.
Relationship is key to meeting. This is evident in Paul’s ministry as one can see in People who make disciples. It is only as we relate that we can see the needs that need to be addressed. We need to relate about real life - how things are going. Don’t get so caught up on a program that you forget the person.
It is good to share your spiritual life - good bits and more challenging. If they don’t see reality they will be imitating a mask instead of a real life engaging in faith with God.
The first time you meet it is a good idea to spend a considerable time sharing about your lives. From this you get a bit of a feel for their maturity in Christ and about what are the key issues. From this it is clearer where you should be going and what to address first.
Over time one will notice that the person you are meeting will make throw away comments about challenges of life. These are often an invitation to ask the next question, looking for clarification. As we do this, and share our hearts in the process we will often find that it is in these unplanned times that there has been the greatest encouragement and opportunity for engagement with God.
Those who plan will be able to look at where the person is whom they are helping and where they might realistically be able to get to in say a year. They will be able to work out what materials are needed and how to approach the times.
Those who don’t have a plan will after a few months end up going round in circles. The same issues will constantly be coming up and after a year one will have to wonder if any progress has been made at all.
The person being helped may have significant issues to deal with. As trust is developed and they begin to share these, one must learn to be flexible, and ready to drop the plan, deal with the immediate issues, but always ready in the light of the new realities to come up with a new plan..
We lead with God and in partnership with God. The best times are when we go in with a plan but have the freedom to follow the spontaneity of the Holy Spirit Gal 5:25 (NIV) says “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” This requires the discipline to have prepared and the surrender to be willing to give up on what is planned.
This is a suggested way to plan. As time goes on and you have greater confidence you can leave it aside and do what is most helpful for you.
Begin with prayer. For some this is obvious, but it is amazing how often it is forgotten. I must confess that I forget all the time. It helps to have a reminder in among the books that you use for planning.
It is good to have some objectives sorted out. At first it might be just to get to know the person well enough to know what they need and what sort of realistic objectives could be put in place.
Here are some questions to help you think about objectives -
Having thought through the objective for your time, or for a period of meetings, move on to think about content. People often want to teach their own interests. This is usually much too complex for the person they are to help!
How long will you be meeting for? How frequently will you meet?
These are key questions and must be determined giving account to the availability and flexibility of each of you.
The younger they are in faith, the more frequently meeting would help. For a very young believer, once a week would be good. For the more mature, once a month.
In general something is going to be better than nothing. Don’t make it so frequent that it is a struggle to find the time. If you are finding it a struggle halve the rate you meet. One of the first to do this found that once per year for an evening made a significant impact!
For a personal example
HINTS FOR MEETING