3 Essentials for Disciple-Making: Create a Safe Environment | Part 5

October 14, 2015 | Comments Off on 3 Essentials for Disciple-Making: Create a Safe Environment | Part 5

The third element of discipleship is creating a safe environment. (See the introduction to this article here.)

Disciple-Making: Create a Safe Environment

Disciple-Making: Create a Safe Environment

Create a Safe Environment

Discipleship is personal, so it’s important to create a safe environment where disciples can explore and grow. Here are three tips for creating safety:

Meet in a Safe Place
It isn’t always easy to find physical space for small groups or one-on-one discipleship. If you have a family or roommates, your home may not have sufficient privacy. When crying or anger are involved, a coffee shop isn’t a good option. You may need to be creative, but you need to make sure that your disciples have the privacy needed for intimate conversations.

Stress Confidentiality
Often in a small group, I share something of my past or even my present that I don’t want broadcast beyond that setting. This actually goes both ways. You want to assure your group members that anything they say belongs to them and neither you nor anyone in the group will share it with anyone, anywhere. The only exception to that is if you believe the group member’s life or another life is in danger. Otherwise, they must know they can trust you—and you must be able to trust them.

Avoid Condemnation
Often you will observe or hear of unbiblical lifestyle choices that your disciples are making. If you condemn or sound like Mom or Dad, your disciples will bolt and little will be gained. Asking good questions instead is helpful. Explore the rationale. Do they not know this is wrong? Have they twisted Scripture to make it right? Have they even thought about it? Is it an addiction, a deeply ingrained habit, or a family trait? Once you know those answers you can begin to address the issue. But do so gently and patiently. People don’t change overnight, even if they want to.

Unfortunately, I learned this the hard way and lost a disciple who was dear to me because I came down too hard on her for a behavior that, in retrospect, wasn’t that big of a deal. Now I’m more careful to honor the image of God in each person, and I attempt to love and woo them into a better choice, even if it takes longer.

Discipleship can be one of the most rewarding opportunities for Christians. What a delight to see a person grow up into Christ and the faith! What a joy to see them take on leadership or ministry and become all God created them to be. And we benefit, too. We get to look at things with fresh eyes, which is energizing. But discipleship in groups won’t happen with intentionality and work. Are you up for the challenge?

This article was originally published on SmallGroups.com.

3 Essentials for Disciple-Making: Introduction | Part 1

3 Essentials for Disciple-Making: What is Discipleship? |Part 2

3 Essentials for Disciple-Making: Ask Good Questions | Part 3

3 Essentials for Disciple-Making: Stress Application | Part 4

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