In my mid-twenties, Al singled me out by coming along side and communicating gentle compassion. He saw I was troubled and in need of help. Over the next several months he guided me in pluming the depths of crushing pain derived from childhood experiences. We dealt with deep-seated bitterness and denial. In time I experienced joyful liberation from my bondages, because Al cared enough to take the time and effort. Over the ensuing months, we hunted together, sought to reach collegians for Christ together; hung out together. Rather than preaching or pushing his pet values on me (Bible study, daily “quiet time”, discipleship, etc.), Al just lived them. And…I caught them.
Man-to-man – one person separating out another with the intention of affecting his life toward spiritual maturity – can be an effective tool in helping to fulfill Christ’s Great Commission to “make disciples”. (Matt. 28:18-20) When we focus in on an individual, in effect we are saying, “You are of great worth to God…and to me!” Powerful stuff indeed!
Man-to-man (or person-to-person) involves:
Modeling : Providing your “disciple” with an authentic example to emulate: “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1) (See Pro. 23:26 I Cor. 4:16; Phil. 3:17; 1Thes. 1:6; 2 Thes. 3:9)
Sensitivity : Seeking to understand who this person is, and where he is in his life. Attempting to grasp what God is presently doing in him. Asking God whether He wants you to participate at this time with Him in his maturing process. Sensitivity also has to do with getting to the meaning behind his words. Asking, “what are the implications of what he/she is not saying?” “He who answers before listening–that is his folly and his shame.” (Prov. 18:13)
Serving : As opposed to impressing, manipulating, or exploiting. No hidden agenda. Just sacrificially giving of yourself to him. “For we do not preach ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.” (2 Cor. 4:5) (See Matt. 20:25-27; Jn. 13:14; Rom. 15:1,2; 1 Cor. 9:19-23; 2 Cor. 1:24; 2 Tim. 2:10)
Transparency : Simply being real. Vulnerable. Sharing your life. “You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings–what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. ” (2 Tim. 3:10,11)
Encouraging : Beseeching, imploring and entreating him in his walk with God . “…[Paul and Barnabas] returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,’” (Acts 14:21b, 11) (See Pro. 12:25; 25:11)
Instructing : Offering truth and practical help that is timely and relevant toward his spiritual growth. .“…Jesus…said, “…Go and make disciples…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you…” (Matt. 28:18b,19a,20a)
Confronting : Caring enough to pinpoint and help him change in problematic/sin areas of his life. “Preach the Word…rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.” (2 Tim 4:2a,c) (See 1 Thes. 2:7,8,11,12)
Equipping : Furnishing him with the tools to grow, walk with God, and minister to others. “… Prepare (literally: equip) God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.” (Eph. 4:12) (See 1Thes. 5:11-14)
My prayer is that you are having a great week!
R. Dwight Hill
* (Original release date August 20th, 2003)