Before I start, I have to apologize for the delay between posts. My intention was to post at least every other week, but SO much has happened since the beginning of July: minor surgery, starting a new job, and moving into a new place! Needless to say, my world's been a little hectic and my schedule turned up-side down. From now on, please look for new posts on Mondays, hopefully every week to every other week.
I had never heard of this concept prior to college, and it took me a while to understand why it's so important. In my experience, discipleship is kindda like having a mentor and a small, close group of supporters in your spiritual walk. At first, I didn't really think a group like this was necessary to spirituality. My relationship with God is between me and Him, right? So why should I need someone else telling me what to do? Or pointing out my failures? Or dismissing me and my questions? Since I hadn't previously experienced a lot of direct spiritual support, I was doubtful. During my first year of college, I joined a Bible study for Freshmen Girls, and, quite simply, it was fantastic! I loved hanging out with those girls, and our leaders were so sweet and kind, yet they challenged us-- made us questions and really look deeper into what it meant to be a Christian woman.
The next year, we split up into two smaller groups and continued to dig into our spiritual lives, but we continued under the name of a discipleship group. Essentially, we met once a week to discuss scripture, talk about our spiritual lives and just love on each other. It might sound like a typical Bible study, but it went so much deeper than that. We pushed and challenged each other to really open up, to talk about the deepest, darkest secrets hidden away in our hearts. We found that some girls felt that they weren't worthy of God's love, so they worked really hard to earn it, others realized that they felt distant from God because they were too prideful to admit that they really and truly needed His help. Because we were so open with each other, we were really able to support one another through some really difficult stuff. Last summer when I reached the end of my rope with trying to follow all the rules and obligations I mistakenly felt were necessary to be a Christian, my group supported me and allowed me to step back from the responsibilities of the group, without letting me slip through the cracks in their busy schedules and completely fall off the spiritual path.
I really encourage you, if you're trying to find out if there's more to spirituality, or just want to really know God, find someone to disciple you. Yes, just like Jesus had his followers, his disciples, find someone who you trust in spiritual matters. It could be a friend, a youth pastor, or a leader in your community. If you're not connected to a spiritual community, ask around--ask me!-- and I'll be someone can recommend a church with some strong leaders. You need someone who is a little further along in their spiritual path, simply because if you ask someone who's at the same place you are, neither one of you can lead the way for the other. Find someone you're comfortable asking hard questions, and who is willing to give you an honest answer. You need someone who will call you out when some of your actions don't line up with the way of Christ, but will also show you the way back.
Discipleship can be an amazing tool for growing in your understanding of Christ, God, and the Holy Spirit, as well as your relationship with Him. In fact, a lot (if not most) of what I will share of my journey comes straight from my AMAZING discipleship group and dedicated leaders-- they've made a huge impact on my life, and I'm excited to share it all with you.