Hardy Street Baptist Church Associate Pastor, Scott Alexander shared a compelling word on New Year’s Eve about discipleship.
He emphasized the importance of intentional investment —that we do not stumble into Godliness and growth, but rather, we must be intentionally engaged in this discipling process.
He also added some great advice about “relational investment”. The process of discipleship doesn’t happen in a vacuum. You need others! God designed it that way! In Ephesians 4:11-16, we see God’s design for discipleship laid out. He gifts leaders who equip the saints for the work of ministry. AND we know from Scripture, that God desires ALL believers to be disciple-makers.
That means you cannot do it alone! You need others speaking into your life and you need to speak into the lives of others!
You need specific relationships in your life that God uses to make you better! What are these relationships? Leadership and relationship coaches say that everyone needs a teacher, a student and a friend. Financial guru, Dave Ramsey frames it up this way, "As Christians, we can confidently say that everyone needs a Paul, a Timothy and a Barnabas.”
Motivational speaker Charlie “Tremendous” Jones used to say that five years from now, you’ll be the same person you are today except for the books you read and the people you meet. In other words, we need the accountability and support that come when others invest in our lives. Our interactions with others matter! So why not pray for those relationships?
You need to be both “influenced” and “influencer”!
In Sunday’s message, Scott challenged us to pray specifically for those discipling relationships, so here is a great prayer for every believer in this new year:
Pray for a “Paul” … Someone who will disciple you! Pray for a Paul figure who will speak into your life, hold you accountable, stretch you in your faith! Who is that person? If you don’t have them identified, pray and ask God to reveal them to you! God wants all of us to grow to maturity in Christ, and since His design is for people to be involved in the process…this is a prayer aligned with His will… He WILL answer this one!
Pray for a “Timothy”… Someone to invest and pour into. To disciple someone else, you don’t have to have it all together, have all the answers, or be fully matured. To make a spiritual impact in the lives of others, you need to be yielded to God and obedient to the Great Commission call to disciple-making! Pray for God to give you influence in the lives of others (specifically, a “Timothy” figure that you can encourage).
In addition to those discipling relationships, I want to suggest a third prayer request:
Pray for a “Barnabas”… encouraging friends that will divide the load of trouble and burden, multiply the joys of celebration, and will inspire and motivate you along the path!
Praying for a “Paul”, a “Timothy”, & a “Barnabas” in this New Year is a great way to obediently join God at His work!
Your “Paul” is the mentor/coach/discipler who pours his life and wisdom into your life, while your “Timothy” receives the same blessing from you. You need to sit at the feet of people who are further along the journey than you are. As you do, you will find that pouring your life into someone else can be incredibly energizing! And being a friend will attract friends and having friend will make all the difference in the journey!
Zig Ziglar often told a story about how Belgian horses are trained to work together—and how it made these incredible animals so much more effective. Belgian horses are huge, powerful animals. In fact, one Belgian can pull more than 8,000 pounds.
THAT’S A LOT OF HORSEPOWER!
A strange thing, however, is that if you put two Belgian horses together who are strangers, they don’t just double the amount they can pull to 16,000 pounds; they actually triple it to 24,000 pounds. And if you spend some time training them to work together, that unified pair can pull a whopping 32,000 pounds.
That’s four times what a single horse can do alone!
That story should remind us that connections are powerful—and not just for Belgian horses. People need healthy relationships to win at life, too.
God works through each of these relationships in our lives. He uses a Paul to guide us. He uses a Timothy to help us mature. And He uses a Barnabas to challenge us. In response, we should always be learning, teaching and loving.
I’m praying for you in this New Year, and I hope that you are praying for these relationships for your own life!
Christ-follower, husband, dad, friend & the Senior Pastor of Hardy Street Baptist Church.