Questions to Ask Before You Disciple Someone

May 30, 2013 — 3 Comments

One of my wife’s girlfriends recently began dating a young man who was a new Christian. I wondered if Allan (not his real name) had anyone who was discipling him. Later I learned that Allan had been connected to someone at his church to disciple him, but the person had not returned Allan’s calls.

pic of question mark

Flickr Photo Credit: Colin K

As a result, I asked to be connected to Allan and see if he might be interested in meeting with me to discuss the possibility of me being a disciple to him. The meeting went great and we have been meeting twice a month since then. (If you’re not sure what a “disciple” is, this blog post will help.)

Even though Allan and I have been meeting for months as part of our discipling relationship, it is important that a discipleship relationship start by exploring if there should be a discipleship relationship.

What do I mean?

I mean that before discipleship occurs, there should be some questions and a conversation between the person who needs to be discipled and the person willing to do the discipling. When Allan and I met for the first time we talked through several questions. These questions helped us get to know each other better as well as see if the discipling relationship would be a good fit for us.

Here are some suggested questions to talk through when you meet with a potential disciple:

  • What’s your story of becoming a Christian? Ask and listen to the person tell her story. This is her chance to share what God has done in her heart. It will also allow you to see areas that you might be able to compliment this person.
  • Do you need someone to disciple you? This is perhaps the most basic question, but it is necessary. A new Christian only needs one–maybe two people–to disciple her. More than one or two people will cause the new Christian to feel overwhelmed, become confused when receiving conflicting advice/teaching, and she might eventually feel discouraged because of too much information.
  • Do you think it would be a good fit for me to disciple you? This is a simple yes or no question to ask at the end of the conversation.

Remember, when you first meet with someone you are exploring the topic of being a disciple to her. You are not there because you are going to be meeting every week for ten years. You are exploring the possibility of there being a match for what the new Christian needs and what you can provide.

On a side note, be sure to “give an out” to the person. To give him an out means you say, “Let’s meet again and talk more about what we might study and to ensure we want to continue this relationship.” This says that you have not decided for sure that you are going to disciple this person, and he might not have decided you are the right fit. But, you have agreed to go forward and discuss it more. Maybe someone else comes along that the new Christian feels would be a better person to be discipled by. That’s okay.

The important thing is to ask good questions before the discipleship relationship begins. This ensures a good outcome for you as the person offering your time to disciple someone, and for the person who is on the receiving end of the discipling relationship.

Question: What other questions should be asked when a discipling relationship begins?

Christopher L. Scott

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Christopher Scott is Small Groups Pastor at Rocky Hilly Community Church in Exeter, CA. He has more than ten years of experience leading volunteers, running nonprofit programs, and teaching the Bible in small group settings. He holds a bachelor's degree from Fresno Pacific University and master's degree from Dallas Theological Seminary.

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  • What a great post. Too often we don’t have that frank conversation and we assume too much in the discipling relationship. Even having a clear timeline and date to assess how it’s going would be good too. I wouldn’t have that timeline or date too soon as the relationship needs to go through the whole process of forming, storming, norming, performing, and reforming, to accurately assess the experience!

    Thanks for the shout out to my post on discipleship.

    • Daniel,
      Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your thoughts. I agree that having a clear timeline for assessment is a good idea.

      Great job on your post too. It was worthy of a shout out.

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