Now that I have experienced both being discipled as well as discipling others, I would like to share some reflections on the process.
First, I want to stress how wonderful the entire journey has been and how it has transformed my thinking and attitude about so many things. Before my involvement with Timothy Network, I had never experienced the kind of intentional, intimate relationship with other Christian sisters that I now have. My journey began with Kathy Cox discipling me and one other person. To have someone commit to pouring into me for an extended period was both humbling and motivational. One of the things I admired most, and wanted to duplicate, was how Kathy was able to lead us and also be willing to learn from us. We were able to share openly and sharpen one other just “as iron sharpens iron.”
The model of discipling only a few at a time, which is core to the way Timothy Network operates, has several benefits. The process adds a heightened sense of responsibility for each member of the discipling group, knowing their part in each week’s discussion is vital. It also makes it much easier to share intimate details about your life and your struggles. Sharing with a larger group can be very intimidating!
Near the end of my time with Kathy, we began praying for others to disciple, that God would make His will known and bring people to us who were ready. I knew He would answer our prayers, but He did so almost immediately by placing two women in my path at the exact right time!
Discipling others has been a huge leap of faith, but the experience has brought me even closer to God. I had to completely rely on Him for the tools I would need to invest in others the way Kathy invested in me. Just as no two people are alike, no two discipling relationships are alike – nor should they be! I learned very quickly that I should not attempt to force any sort of “program” or strict curriculum on my group. God’s Word is true and eternal; it doesn’t change. Disciple making must be natural and tailored to the circumstances of a person’s life, however. It’s a process that requires time, patience, and flexibility. Because I’m a true “Type A” personality this was a slight frustration, but again, it brought me closer to God. I stayed in constant prayer and have seen the three women I discipled grow and flourish in their own way and in their own time. The goal is that they will soon be making disciples, too.
Discipling others has taught me volumes about modeling transparency and living in accountability with others. Being relationally transparent inspires others to be transparent, too. At the same time, we learn to hold each other accountable to the highest standards possible – God’s standards. The mutual accountability, trust, and support formed in the authentic discipling relationships I’ve described here is truly awesome. Living “real life” with one another helps us create meaningful life-long relationships in Christ.
Alice and her husband, Eric, have three children – Caitlin, Ginny, and Ethan.