How would you respond if someone came up and asked you that question?
Would you rush to say yes and start setting up a weekly time?
Would you ask for time to pray about it?
Would you say no? …change the subject? …or just not get back to them?
How you respond reveals a lot about who you are, what you believe and what’s going on in your heart.
It can be a heady thing to have someone ask you to disciple them. It’s definitely a compliment. They’ve obviously seen something in your life that’s given them the desire to walk with you and learn from you. A dear friend once shared with me there are three things that motivate people: accomplishment, community, and influence. I am primarily motivated by the latter! Does that ever make me vulnerable when people ask me things like this! So it’s good to know yourself and understand what might drive you to rush into something prematurely.
Prayer is always a great idea! But do you have enough information to pray well about this? If you have known the person for a long time, you very well may. But if you don’t know them very well, I find it sure can help to get together with them once and learn more of their story, hear what’s on their heart and in truth as I’m prayerfully listening many times the Lord will reveal whether this is someone He wants me involved with.
But even if I do sense the Lord is leading me to meet with someone, I won’t rush to commit to meeting weekly with them right away. As I mentioned in the August 11th Post “Where are You” I have found it so beneficial to start with one meeting and at the end give a copy of the “What is a Disciple study” (Found in the Hello! section). Then I encourage them to contact me when this is completed.
Jesus had twelve disciples. I find the max I can usually handle is four. So it’s not uncommon for me to have to say no – because I simply don’t have the time. Now saying “no” is incredibly difficult for me!!! And in truth I’ve known many people who don’t handle this well – they either change the subject if someone asks or not return calls or even say they’ll pray about it and never get back to them. These are not good responses! Why? Because you don’t love well when you do this!
Here are a couple thoughts that have really helped me learn to say “no” well:
1) The Lord created time – it is not a limitation for Him – and there is always time to do everything He wants me doing, but not for things He doesn’t want me doing. If I say yes to doing things He doesn’t want me doing, it will prevent me from being available for what He does want me doing. Time is not the enemy. But there is an enemy who delights to get me to misuse it. As one friend once shared with me – if the enemy can’t get you to stop he’ll get you so busy you don’t do anything well. If I overextend myself by saying yes when I shouldn’t everyone else I’m involved with will suffer, not just me! And that certainly isn’t modeling being available very well for those I meet with is it?!!!
2) Also, God’s best for me is always His best for everyone around me. If He doesn’t want me discipling someone, then I’m not doing them any favors by disicpling them! He has another plan for them! And if I don’t follow Him in this, I can only get in the way! It really is loving them well, when I follow Jesus’ lead and say no when He wants me to, even if it’s not what they want to hear. By sharing this, I can say no in a way that keeps them hopeful and eagerly looking to see what He does have for them!
To really grasp these truths has helped so much with telling people no! And the longer you disciple, the more opportunities you’re going to have to say no! It’s vital you learn to do it well!
For whenever someone asks “Will you disciple me?” it is a very important question – and not just for the one asking!
How you respond to the question “Will you disciple me?” speaks volumes about how much of a disciple of Jesus you are!