This semester we were all given five choices for our final class project. The option I chose was to disciple a new believer using a book as a guide. The book is called Learning to Follow Jesus by Dr. Daniel McNaughton. This book was to be used as a tool helping to guide his steps towards knowing Jesus Christ.
What I discovered from using this book was that it serves multiple purposes. I found it not only helped to walk a new believer through the first steps of a relationship with Christ, but it also helped me (the leader) learn the importance of introducing these life-changing steps into a person’s life. This book is full of the “essentials” in every Christian walk and unless someone is shown the importance of these attributes, how will they be able to grow exponentially?
The book is set up into seven parts called attributes. Each attribute has five individual steps that help explain the concept in depth:
Attribute 1: Learn to Be With Jesus
Attribute 2: Learn to Listen
Attribute 3: Learn to Heal
Attribute 4: Learn to Influence
Attribute 5: Learn to Love
This book is designed in such a way that whoever is leading the disciplining has all the resources needed at their finger tips. The back of the book is full of resources that enable the learner to apply what they are being taught in a practical manner. This book is a great tool for any leader. Highly recommended.
Each week I met with this young man with the intention of helping him take another step closer to Christ. This man has a great heart. The type of heart God is looking for. He came into this discipleship process with a firm understanding that everything he has and everything he aspires to do is in the hands of God. Naturally, his heart is gentle and compassionate to others. He is humble and filled with gratitude, not taking anything for granted. Needless to say, his heart was ready to receive more.
The revelation that came for him as we began the first steps was the belief in a Savior and Lord. It was the accepting and understanding of mankind needing to be rescued from sin and death. From the start I could tell there was an acknowledgement of who Jesus Christ was, but had never been told that you could be close to this Jesus person. He had never been told or shown that this Jesus who came to save the world wants nothing more than an intimate relationship with him. So that is where we started.
The 1st attribute in the book is learning to be with Jesus. It was over these few weeks that this new believer discovered that Christ desired to be his closest companion, friend and confidant. It was incredible to see the immediate change in this man. When we first started there was a little hesitance about what he was getting into. Wasn’t sure about how it was going to unfold. In the weeks to follow this young man began to seek me out, making sure we were definitely meeting that week. His uncertainty had turned into an excitement to know more. Something began to happening in this man, something that can only be described as the work of Christ.
Each week this young man was challenged; challenged to step into the unknown with faith. What a privilege it was to see him grow. I would say the most rewarding day for me throughout this journey was the day we learned about prayer. This was a revolutionary day in his life. Never had he spoken a word to God verbally. He never understood that it was about a relationship and everything that comes along with that such as conversation and fellowship. I’m sure it was a little uncomfortable for him at first, but in the weeks to follow, his prayers began to develop into incredible conversations with God that came straight from his heart and filled with thanksgiving. His prayers up until this point were simply reflecting on God, his creation and grandeur. What an incredible discovery to find out you can talk with and hear from the creator himself and to understand that His intention from the beginning was to have a relationship with His creation.
Currently, we are working through personal aspects of his life such as, developing healthy habits and getting rid of unhealthy habits. As well as, learning how to apply what we’ve learned into his everyday life. Here is the best part; recently he took a new position in his line of work that brought him to a new location. He instantly made friends with another young man who is quickly “climbing up the ladder” due to excellent work. After asking this new friend for any tips or suggestions of how to improve in his own work, the new friend replied, “I owe it all to my faith in Christ”. How amazing is that? These two co-workers are now setting a precedent in their office. With their Bibles in plain view for all to see, they give all the glory to God.
The Next Time
The book is a great tool, however to work through it one attribute and step at a time can take a while. Needless to say, I am still working through it with this man. I have definitely seen growth in certain areas and trusting growth will happen in the other areas. One thing we have yet to touch on is coming to church on a regular basis. Basically, to make church a vital part of his growth in Christ. I know that this is important for him, but at the same time I don’t want to push him too hard or too far. I believe the time will come when the door for this opportunity to talk with him about needing church will open up. In the meantime, we will continue to grow together, learning what it truly means to follow Jesus.