Discipleship

Some thoughts about discipleship from an interview with Josh Harris. The idea that you need to approach it with humility and not only as a consumer, but with the intention to invest in others (2 Tim. 2:2).

Adrian
What advice would you give to people who are not currently being discipled? I urge people to do anything they can to position themselves in the right place—to enable them to have such an experience. Would you agree? Do you have any other advice?

Josh
I do agree. I think that the starting point is an attitude of humility (and I don’t pretend to be a model for this by any means) that acknowledges that you need help. I think my relationship with C. J. can sound very glamorous from a distance. The reality is that being mentored requires that you believe and embrace the reality that you don’t know everything, that you need to learn. Let’s be honest, our pride, our sin, opposes this. My question for a person who desires to be mentored would be, “How are you learning from those God has already placed in your life? Are you humbly asking them questions? Are you studying people you respect?” And then, are you gleaning what you can from them, even if you don’t have an “official” mentoring relationship with them? I wish I could clone C. J. so that 5,000 young guys like me could have their own private Mahaney mentor. But it’s not possible. What is possible is to read his books. Start with Humility: True Greatness. And today, with the web, you can listen to dozens of his sermons. And hopefully, if I can convince him, C. J. will have his own blog so his influence can be more frequent. There are many godly older men like C. J. from whom we can learn and benefit. In some cases, that will be in a close relationship; at other times it will be from a distance.

Next, it’s vital that you be in a strong local church headed by men that you want to emulate. Whether or not you feel called to ministry, you should be in a place where there are men whose character and teaching, whose life and doctrine, provide you with a compelling example. A church led by such men should be well-stocked with godly men, many of whom are not pastors, who can mentor and disciple.

Finally, I’d encourage men to cry out to God for this good gift. And even if that prayer isn’t answered in the fashion or time that you’d like, don’t forget how important this is. Because one day you’re going to be the older generation that can invest in others. I think a big part of the reason C. J. has been so faithful in training younger men like me is because he never had that benefit in his own life. So much of what he learned he had to learn through books and through trial and error. He wanted a mentor, but though he learned from different older men, he never truly had that. I think it spurred him to be that mentor so that men like me could have what he missed.

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