What is the advantage of one-on-one discipleship?
The idea of one-on-one discipleship is not necessarily a new idea. It was practiced in the days of Jesus. While Jesus is considered by many to be a small-group leader because He instructed a small group of followers, He did personally mentor and develop those who would later be in charge of His ministry. That is what the idea of one-on-one discipleship is all about.
The biblical basis for one-on-one discipleship is found in 2 Timothy 2:2, where it states, "And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others."
What does one-on-one discipleship involve? It involves a person investing a great deal of time, energy, prayer, and commitment into the life of another person - not just sharing the Good News with them, but developing a relationship where the person being discipled learns, grows, and draws closer to God. In this model, the person discipling sets the example and the new person to the Lord learns and benefits from this.
This type of discipleship - being a role model - is detailed in 2 Thessalonians 3: 7, 9. "For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you…We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to make ourselves a model for you to follow."
In this model of discipleship, a person mentors someone else and invests everything they know and have into the life of this person and then encourages them to do the same thing in the life of someone else. This is perhaps the greatest advantage of one-on-one discipleship - the ability to mentor and shape another person and then send him or her out to do the same for someone else.
There are certainly advantages to being discipled in a group setting. However, in a one-on-one environment, there are so many other opportunities for growth. The person being mentored sees God in the life of a person, and can translate that into their own faith story and struggles. Just as there is no substitute for a coach in the life of an Olympic athlete, there is no substitute for a mentor or a coach in the life of a growing Christian, and that is what one-on-one discipleship is all about.
This principle, if adapted, would make it possible to reach the entire world with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ in a span of 16 years. How is that possible? If you were to mentor and disciple a new person every six months, and that person would then disciple one other new person every six months, and so on, by the end of the 16th year, we would together have reached 17,179,867,184 lives! That is the current world population. That would be a miraculous accomplishment! All one person would have to do is share their life, experience, faith, and Christ's love with one person every six months.
One-on-one discipleship is an exciting way to help bring people to Christ, build people in Christ, and then send people out for Christ.
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