A question I received this week - Is Discipling a fancy word for mentoring?
It’s a great question!
On the surface Discipling and Mentoring look very similar; after all mentoring is basically a general term used when someone asks another person to advise them in a certain set of skills or a life area, and discipling shares this aspect to some degree. Both have the goal of helping someone else to learn and grow (usually one-on-one) and both are relational in nature. However, this is about where the similarities stop.
In mentoring the saying goes “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” The object is to help the mentee grow in the area of their choosing, to their agenda and for their benefit. But when Jesus taught about fishing he said, “Come follow me and I will make you fishers of men (Matthew 4:19). Jesus didn’t come to help his disciples to do what they were already doing better, he came to change the very purpose of their lives. Essentially the message of Jesus is “follow me” or “become like me”, in other words to trade our purpose for His purpose, to exchange the temporal for the eternal. Disciplemaking then, rather than being at the request of the mentee for their own benefit, is rather, a matter of obedience as we respond to Christ’s command to “Go and make disciples” (Matthew 28:19); in other words to lead and guide someone in becoming a strong, fruitful disciple to the glory of God, and the expansion of His kingdom.
By nature discipling is an intentional investment in the growth and maturity of another in Christ; the role is to actively equip a person with the necessary spiritual discipline and resources that will allow them accomplish the mission that God calls them to; to enable them to become a strong, fruitful disciple in their own right (2 Timothy 2:2); to present them fully mature in Christ (Colossians 1:28).
Disciple-making is the model given to us by Jesus himself to bring about His purposes in the world. It is a powerful, purposeful and intentional labour of love, leading, teaching, correcting, and praying for those who God will give us to disciple. As we faithfully water, He brings about transformational growth.
Grace & Peace
Jen is an energetic and passionate disciple of Christ who loves to share Jesus with anyone who will listen!