I am coaching a man named Phillip who is serving among the poor in Mexico City. He’s been struggling with finding time to invest in discipling relationships, partly because most of the people there are already working long hours just to support their families.
One man Phillip would like to disciple has a bakery. He gets up at 3:00am to do the baking, then does deliveries, then sells from the shop. He doesn’t get home until 7:00pm. He works all day, leaving no time for discipleship.
I then asked Phillip, “Why don’t you be like Jethro? Jethro went with Moses to work, watched what he did, helped out, and spoke into Moses’ life. What would it look like for you to go to this man’s place of business and disciple him in the context of his life?”
A light went on for Phillip. He’d been thinking of discipleship as a time set aside where people came to him. The idea of going to them and being with them in the course of their daily life opened up all kinds of new possibilities. Suddenly he had all the time in the world to invest in discipleship.
When Phillip began to think about showing up at the bakery, he figured the work would go faster. They may even have a chance for discipleship conversations while the bread was baking. They could go together on deliveries and sometimes engage those bread-buyers who were open in spiritual conversations. As Phillip was thinking about these possibilities, the baker actually began asking Phillip questions about how he could run his business more efficiently. Phillip was able to coach him through that process.
I’ve found there are found numerous advantages to a discipleship approach like this:
- You’re engaging yourself in their world, seeing what life is like through their eyes.
- You often find ways to be helpful like Jethro was to Moses.
- You view discipleship more as a way of life, not as an extra meeting.
What other advantages can you think of?