Everyday Discipleship Every Day: The Tale of Two Women or What’s the Difference Between Mentoring and Discipling

This is the first article in our series on everyday discipleship. This month we will be exploring what discipleship means and how we can be disciples and make disciples.

I am so glad that you always keep me in your thoughts,

and that you are following the teachings I passed on to you.

(1 Corinthians 11:1, NLT)

A young mom was struggling with raising her children. She had one with serious health problems. She was in a new marriage, and she was trying to navigate a number of family issues in her extended family. They were poor and struggling. Her church offered mentoring. My mom volunteered to mentor this young woman. She listened to the young woman. She prayed with her and for her. She babysat and took the kids to the park to give the mom some respite. She shared her faith, but she mostly helped by assisting, blessing, and sharing her wisdom with this young mother.

Two young women were new to the Christian faith. One was from a Taoist background and the other from a Holiday Catholic background (where they only attended church on holidays). Neither knew much of anything about the Bible. They heard the Gospel and chose to follow Christ as their Lord and Savior. They began meeting with me several days a week after work. They would read their Bibles, and we would discuss the Scriptures they read and answer any questions about the Scriptures they had. We went through the Bible in about a year together. After that, they would come over often until our lives moved in different directions: one returning to Canada and becoming a professor and the other attending seminary and a different church where she began serving on staff.

The first example of my mom’s ministry is what we call mentoring. It is assisting, listening, sharing wisdom at times, but mostly walking through a challenging or difficult situation with someone as an older, wiser guide.

The second example of my experience with these two young women is discipleship. It is teaching scripture, sharing our experiences in our walk with God, and mostly walking with someone through their desire to follow Christ more closely, teaching them how to serve God and become more Christlike.

There is definitely overlap in these two examples and definitions. If we walk with someone long enough, we certainly will mentor and disciple at different times and in different situations that arise. But we begin with a main focus. Are we helping them navigate a difficult situation in life or helping them learn to walk with God?

In this series of articles and podcast interviews and episodes, we will be focusing on discipleship. How do we disciple our children well? How do we reach this generation with the historic Gospel of Christ and help them walk as disciples? How do we teach those who have no understanding of the Bible and Christianity? How do we fulfill Jesus’ final command to make disciples in our world and culture today? What does “Everyday Discipleship Every Day” really look like?

Students [or disciples] are not greater than their teacher.

But the student who is fully trained will become like the teacher.

(Luke 6:40, NLT)

Do you have questions or concerns about how to disciple others? Please post your questions. You can send them in an email to contact@terriehellardbrown.com or you can simply post your questions on any of these blog posts. You can also join our Facebook private group and post any questions you have in the group. We will answer every question and respond to every comment. You will bless others by asking. We are all growing together in the Lord, and you may have a question we haven’t considered before or that we’ve been too shy to ask. So, please ask. We appreciate your questions.

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