Equipping God's People to Create Missional Culture

50 Lessons in Discipleship (6-10)

discipleshipIn this series, I will be sharing 50 lessons in discipleship and mentoring. These are lessons that I have learned through life, sometimes through my mentors others times through my mentoring. I pass them on in hopes that they may be a blessing to you and others. I will share five at a time, because I think each statement will be richer as they are reflected upon. Thirty-nine of the Psalms contain the word Selah to break up the Psalm. Selah is the Hebrew way of saying “stop and listen” or “think about it.” So after each of the five discipleship lessons I will put Selah. Please feel free to share lessons you have learned in discipleship or your thoughts on lessons that I’ve learned. These lessons are not in any particular order.


6.  Everything we do is informed by our theology, so in discipleship we need to equip people to know God and the scriptures well

7. Mutuality and reciprocity brings richness to mentoring relationships

8. Asking the right questions is vital in life and when it comes to discipleship

9. Discipleship multiplies joy, divides sorrow and expands the kingdom

10. Some of the richest discipleship develops through natural friendships as opposed to programs


7 Responses to 50 Lessons in Discipleship (6-10)

  1. 8. Asking the right questions is vital in life and when it comes to discipleship

    Knowing the right questions and asking them at the right time seems to be almost magical to me because it can transform a person’s perspective. Jesus had a way of doing this with people that seemed supernatural. He could in the course of a conversation use the words of the person to deepen the issue at hand. I think of the Samaritan woman at the well, the numerous interactions with the religious leaders, and the conversations with his disciples just to name a few.

    Moving beyond the initial awe and wonder that this produces in me, I think that the right question at the right time comes from two skills.

    1. Knowing what is important- If you don’t know what is essential then you will not have the “right question” in mind when an opportunity comes to ask it.

    2. Listening to a person – If you don’t comprehend and follow what a person is saying (both verbal and non-verbal communication) then how will you discern the moments when the “right question” could be asked.

  2. JR Woodward says:


    Jesus was certainly the master at asking the right questions and as you mention the woman at the well is one of the many good examples of this.

    I appreciate your taking the time to develop this idea with two helpful skills. They are both right on, and are vital to develop. Focusing on the petty shrinks our ability to make disciples, but focusing on the meaningful expands our ability. And recently, I have been thinking more deeply about the importance of growing in understanding people’s non-verbal cues because it is likely that most people are more honest with their non-verbals then even their verbal communication.

    Thanks for taking the time to enrich this post.

  3. Kerry Whalen says:

    Hi there, JR,

    Just a couple of thoughts…

    Thinking on your point number 10 – I actually find the idea of “programs” for discipleship a little strange – not sure I’d write them all off completely, but I suspect they are only effective when they facilitate real relationships between people (I do have a bit of an anti-institutional bias, I admit).

    But if the whole deal is, as I think it is, about genuine, mutual, reciprocal relationships (I liked your point 7 🙂 I think the challenge is to reach out and genuinely connect with people who may be natural “outsiders” to you in some sense. By that, I guess I mean people who don’t come from the same social group, share the same values or perhaps just people who just aren’t quite on the same wavelength.

    @Paul – I think your point about really listening is very helpful in this context.

    Thanks for all the “food for thought”.

  4. JR Woodward says:


    Thanks for your interaction. It seems to me, that if we were going to squeeze some value out of programs, it would be that those who develop them may have thought deeply about the various elements important to discipleship and the sociology of transformation. It seems to me thhe problem is when some people try to implement programs programatically “on other people”.

    I am totally with you in regard to connecting with people different from ourselves. I have been enriched my many people different than me. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. Peace.

  5. Kerry Whalen says:

    JR – I think the depth of thought that wiser people have put into something like discipleship and transformation is well worth gleaning from – but once it is codified into a “program” I think there is the danger that people will rely on the structure of that, and that sensitivity to the individual context can be lost. Guess that’s what you mean by “implementing programs programatically on other people”.

    BTW your reflections on discipleship and mentoring definitely don’t have that flavour – I love your emphasis on natural friendship and real relating!

  6. JR Woodward says:


    Yeah, we are on the same page on this one. Thanks for the encouragement.

  7. Pingback: Sivin Kit’s Garden » Blog Archive » Random Links 340 on #Discipleship

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