It was a spring afternoon when I shared with two men my vision for the work that I wanted to do in the future.
I shared with them my desire to serve leaders through writing books and teaching. Shortly after that day, one of the two men privately approached me and shared that he saw some leadership giftedness in me, and he wanted to coach me to help maximize my effectiveness as a leader. I gratefully accepted his offer knowing little about the drastic change that was about to take place in my professional and spiritual life.
For the past three and a half years I have been fortunate to benefit from a discipleship relationship with Steve Elliott who serves as President of Church Assistance Ministry and as a staff pastor at Enclave Community Church. The relationship that Steve and I have enjoyed has been extremely beneficial to me and played a crucial role in allowing me to make a commitment in November of 2009 to follow Jesus.
When Steve and I first began meeting, we only talked about leadership. In fact, the relationship did not start out as a formal “discipling” relationship. However, the topics of our conversations slowly turned more and more towards God over the years. Every opportunity that Steve had to bring up Jesus, he did. Through the process of meeting with Steve I began to realize more and more that Steve has great wisdom to share.
I perceive Steve’s insight and discernment as very valuable. So I work very hard to maximize our time together so I may glean as much as possible from him.
When we meet, I usually prepare for our time the by writing about four topics:
- Here’s What I Learned: I write the notes that I took from the last time that Steve and I met,
- Here’s What I Did: This is a list of the things that I have actively done and experienced since our last meeting,
- Here’s What I Learned: These are the things I have learned since we last met relating to what he said and what I have experienced, and
- Here’s What I Need Coaching On: These are questions and situations that I am looking for him to help me with by sharing wisdom, suggestions, and insight.
These lists tell Steve exactly what I am going through, what I am learning, and where he can help. Recording our time together in this way also helps Steve to see his own words in writing so he knows what he is teaching.
The relationship Steve and I share is a great example of what Greg Odgen talks about when he states that we need people to live with us and guide us in our early years. As he writes, “a necessary and pivotal element in providing the motivation and discipline to grow self-initiating, reproducing, fully devoted followers of Jesus comes only through personal involvement.” Steve provides that investment in me by spending his time, energy, and money on me.
Although Steve and I began meeting in March of 2008, I did not accept Christ until November of 2009. This means he was involved in my life before I was a Christian, when I did become a Christian, and since then. With that in mind, Steve has played a crucial role in showing me what it means to make a commitment to Christ. Steve showed me what it means to be a Christian leader who has had a life of ministry. And, that picture is a picture that I wanted to be part of. It was something that I wanted to be involved and included in because of the unique relationship Steve and I had.
Question: Please share your story of being discipled?
 Greg Ogden, Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2003), 55.