I met her in the eighth grade. I’d never really known anyone like her. She was poised. She spoke with grace. Her countenance reflected a peace I’d never really seen in anyone. This woman loved Jesus.
As a new believer, I looked on at her life and wondered how I could be more like her. I really didn’t have time to chat with her about it much though. I was just one of 20 or so
students in her physical science class at the Christian school I attended. I was a name on her roster. We really didn’t have a personal relationship, just a formal
One glorious day, she asked me to stay after class. She said she’d like to chat with me one on one later that week, and let me know that what time she was available.
I really had no idea why she wanted to see me, but she was an amazing woman and my teacher. So, I showed up at the time we agreed upon. I am sure that my knees were knocking a little as I crossed the threshold into that classroom.
She invited me into a side closet where the lab materials were stored. There, she had set up a couple of chairs, and we struck up a conversation. She really was a beautiful woman.
Her smile radiated Christ, and she put me at ease almost immediately.
I don’t remember many details about that day really. It was so long ago. What I do remember is that she took an interest in me. She took time out of her day to invest in my life.
She asked me a simple question: “How are you growing spiritually?”
No one had ever asked me that question, and I had to admit that I hadn’t really thought about it before. Madelyn Dodgens let me know that I needed to think about how I was growing in discipleship. She pointed me in the right direction, and I will forever be grateful that she did.
Now that I am many years removed from that closeted conversation, I realize that I need to follow her example. I need to invite younger women in the faith to chat about their spiritual walks.
Jesus really created a blueprint for how to do this. He invited others into conversation all the time. After all, he had his own personal discipleship small group of 12.
As I look at the life of Christ, I learn much about how to mentor and disciple others:
Jesus lead by example.
He demonstrated that spiritual growth was important by making prayer and quiet time a priority in His day.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went to a solitary place where He prayed” (Mark 1:34, NIV).
Jesus took advantage of teachable moments.
He used everyday life experiences to reveal truth.
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many
things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).
Jesus asked thought-provoking questions.
Our Savior liked to encourage introspection and self-examination that directed His followers to think differently.
Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”
“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Peter answered, “God’s Messiah” (Luke 9:18-20).
Jesus had a servant’s heart.
As a leader, Jesus focused on meeting the needs of those in His circle of influence.
“Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one
another’s feet” (John 13:14).
Jesus extended grace.
To the weak and the doubting, He showed love, rather than condemnation.
Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned
you?” “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin” (John 8:41-42).
Jesus created a vision for the mission.
He pointed others toward living a crucified life.
“Whoever does not take up their cross and follow me is not worthy of
me. Whoever finds their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life for my sake will find it” (Matthew 10:38-39).
This week, I am going to pray about who I can engage in conversation about spiritual growth. Jesus invited others to follow Him and live life on mission. I want to follow His blueprint and do the same in His name.
Lyli Dunbar loves teaching. For 17 years, she mentored teenagers in the Christian school setting, and now she has serves as Associate Director of Curriculum at Trinity International University Florida. Lyli married her Prince Charming in her 40’s and has a heart for encouraging young couples and singles
in God’s waiting room. She enjoys road trips with her husband, connecting with women through Bible study, and reading way too many books. Lyli writes about life lessons and faith on her personal blog. You may also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
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