I want to introduce you to a young women’s leader from The Church at Brook Hills in Birmingham. Ashley Chesnut will guest blog a series of 6 posts on the Spiritual Stages in Disciple-Making.  I know you will be blessed as I am by her insights.

“How do I help the girls in my small group take the next step to grow in their faith?” This has been a central question for me as I have walked alongside the precious college girls God placed in my life to disciple.

I read Real Life Discipleship this past year, and God used it to augment my understanding of how to identify where my girls are at in their relationship with God and how I can help them move forward. As I met one-on-one with my girls, I began to take notes on things they shared, which I would use to inform my prayers for them as well as to shape my time with them.

While I am not some paragon of disciple-making, in this Spiritual States in Disciple-Making I will be sharing what I have learned about five stages of spiritual growth and how to help others (and ourselves) go deeper in relationship with God.

Much of the content regarding spiritual stages has been gleaned from Real Life Discipleship by Jim Putnam, so if you want to know more, I commend this resource to you. 

Warnings About Classifying People

  • We cannot know what stage someone is at or help them transition to another stage if we are not spending time with them one-on-one. To walk alongside someone, to shepherd them well, and to aid them in their spiritual growth necessitates more than simply seeing them 1-2 hours a week during small group meetings.
  • Identifying someone’s spiritual stage is meant to be a tool to identify where they are so we can help them. Therefore, we need to be careful not to let stages define people. Most of us do not like for people to try to pin us down and say that we are a certain way (even if what they are saying is true). These descriptors are simply handles us for us to grab on to as we disciple people.
  • People do not always fit into our neat little boxes, and they can demonstrate characteristics of several stages.
  • We must allow for people to change and not always view them as they once were.
  • People can regress.

 

So as we focus on this series on the topic of Spiritual Stages,  I challenge you to ask yourself: (1) Which spiritual stage are you? (2) Who are you discipling? (3) What spiritual stage are they? (4) How can you help them transition to the next stage? (5) In what areas do you need to grow in order to be able to walk alongside someone in this process?

The next post takes a look at the spiritually dead.

Ashley ChesnutAshley Chesnut lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and works on the Local Disciple-Making Team at The The Church at Brook Hills. Having grown up in college ministry, Ashley has a passion for discipling college girls and for writing and teaching others about God’s Word. Check out more about discipleship and women’s ministry at the Brook Hills Women’s Blog.

 

 

Other Resources:

Transformational Discipleship

Growing True Disciples – Barna

Growing Disciples Series: http://www.lifeway.com/n/Product-Family/Growing-Disciples-Series

Comments

  1. This is yet another awesome post … Thank YOU for shareN!
    In addition … I find we need to be less verbal and more prayerful in our approach to those we think we are discipling (transparent) since they often end up discipling. It’s a dual conversation in the mist of life in the presence of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

  2. CORRECTION:

    This is yet another awesome post … Thank YOU for shareN!
    In addition … I find we need to be less verbal and more prayerful in our approach to those we think we are discipling (transparent) since they often end up discipling us. It’s a dual conversation in the mist of life in the presence of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

  3. Chris Adams says:

    SO very true, Sonya. It truly does work both ways.

  4. God has just recently raised up a woman in our church with a heart for mentoring and disciplining women. We are prayerfully beginning to put together a “mentoring” team. Your post is so timely! I just love when God hands us a tool/resource to us just as it is needed. I’ve already forwarded your post onto her. ;)

    I appreciate the “warnings list” too – it is so easy to put people in a box. I know I don’t want to be put in one myself! ;)

    Thanks for some great info!
    Blessings, Cyndee

  5. Chris Adams says:

    So glad this was timely and helpful., Cyndee! Keep watching for more of Ashley’s posts on this topic.

  6. Sandrag says:

    Thanks for this post and warnings. As our children grow-up into young adults I’m learning about discipling them…and the young adults in our church. I’m often with our youth at church who I’ve taught in Sunday School at some point in most of their lives. They are all growing up. I’m having to shift from being the mom to really listening to where they are at as they figure out things. Will look forward to more of these posts.

  7. We are in the process of evaluating our Women’s Ministry and making some adjustments. These articles are so very helpful. I would like to share them with our team. Do I have permission to use? These insights are wonderful. Thank you for helping us be better servants.

    • Chris adams says:

      Absolutely ! Just share where they came from and include Ashley’s name. Use away! So grateful they are helpful!

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