This past weekend I had the privilege of attending my first IF:Gathering locally at Houghton College. IF: Gathering was founded by Jennie Allen who back in 2007 felt God telling her to go out and disciple other women. Since following what God had laid on her heart, IF:Gathering has reached 1.2 million women in four years throughout 122 different countries! That is truly amazing and the flame that Jennie has seen within herself has not only grown but keeps spreading!
After leaving the event, I got to my car and was able to reflect on everything I took in through prayer, worship, and all the strong inspiring women and men I had listened to. The gathering truly convicted me more than ever to really focus on discipleship.
A lot of what I had felt in the past about discipleship was reinforced through this event and has drawn me in to focus on the women in my community. Although I do not consider myself seasoned by any means, I still feel I can grow while embarking on this journey, all while encouraging other ladies along the way, whether it is directly or indirectly. That is why I have decided to write this week’s article on 7 Ways To Start Discipling To Other Women.
7 Ways To Start Discipling To Other Women
1. Trust In God
The very first thought that came to mind when I even considered writing this article was, “Am I knowledgeable enough in this area to write on it?” Come to find out, I am! The very first subject Jennie Allen touched on Saturday’s gathering was about the greatest darkness that is coming against us as and that is doubt. In my case, it was self-doubt. Jennie stated that ” Doubt makes us comfortable instead of trusting God.” We fall back to our own understandings and stay within the walls of our comfort zone instead of stepping out in faith and trusting God is guiding us to where we are meant to be.
She also mentioned that, instead of hearing those words of doubt, we should begin to pray instead. You see, thoughts such as doubt are dark thoughts. Thoughts that are meant to pull us away from what we are being called to do. By praying, we can bring light to situations where there is only darkness. We can lay all our troubles at God’s feet and trust in Him.
Another way of trusting in God is abiding in His direction. If we feel something heavily put on our hearts to do, then we should go for it. And if we hear God say something specifically to us to carry out, then we should act. By doing this we are “building a life that needs God.” If we put our trust in Him and display that trust, other women will recognize your strength has come from above, not from you.
2. Say “Yes!”
Continuing off from trusting in God, we need to trust and then follow through. We can do this by being still, listening to God’s directions, and then simply saying ” Yes!” These yes’s can be small or big but the important thing we are taking away from this is confiding in God and following through.
We need to be still to hear God’s voice because all too often we get caught up in what this world is delivering to us instead of what God could be trying to tell you to do. Try taking 5-10 minutes each day to close your eyes and pray to ask God what He wants you to do. This will force you to cut yourself off from any outside distractions and all the thoughts that could be running through your mind. That is not the only time you can hear God’s voice.
You may hear God say something to you while standing in line at the coffee shop or while working with someone in your office. These are some of the “yes’s” you are looking to follow through with.
Many times these words we hear make us shy away from someone God feels we should talk to. We will find ourselves wondering why should I talk to this person or what should I even say? Keep in mind many times it’s not going to be clear, but as we do things for God and say yes, those reasons become more clear.
3. Study The Word
Like I mentioned before, I haven’t had a relationship with Jesus for very long, but in the short amount of time I have, I have learned and expanded my understandings through the reading of the Word.
When we turn to our Bibles as a guide for our lives, it is important that we fully read what each piece of scripture is telling us. If we find ourselves falling short of understanding scripture fully, it may mean finding someone to mentor you, taking some form of course online, through your local college, or through a small group at your church. There are wonderful free sources at biblicaltraining.org that my husband has been listening to and now it has sparked my interest to begin listening to the free lecture course they offer on their site.
Out of all of the ways I have suggested for us as women to disciple to others, this is the most important. This is because God tells us that the Word is what truly convicts us. We can share with someone our personal walk with Jesus time and time again with no change seen in that person’s life. Your testimony may draw that person’s attention, but nothing will convict them like the Word of God.
In Hebrews 4:12, it tells us ” For the world of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow: it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” This is something that humans cannot do.
By having a strong foundation of the Word, it also allows us the ability to more easily reference scripture within our discussions with other ladies and support our thoughts. And remember, if we are sharing the Word of God, we are sharing the truth.
4. Delight In Your Struggles
Too often we come to a season in our life that is going great when all of a sudden it comes to a screaming halt. We may find our selves jobless, off our desired career path, single, experiencing loss, battling medical issues, or just overall not feeling fulfilled.
This is where faith and perseverance matter the most. We must embrace these difficulties we come into with perseverance because this will only grow our faith in Jesus!
As each struggle comes our way we should reflect on James 1: 2-4, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
These struggles are there to build our faith but also let us grow. There is so much we might not know, but if we stand tall and continue to be determined, we will blossom and that flower won’t go unseen.
When other women see you consistently remaining joyful, happy, and content no matter what season you are in, they will take notice and be inspired to see what you are doing in your life that allows such light even during your darkest of times.
5. Love One Another
We find in John, that Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” We need to show love to everyone, this includes family, friends, enemies, and strangers.
It is important to have this verse written on our hearts so when we are presented before someone we do not know, we keep in mind we are called to love everyone. We are called to love everyone no matter their background, political stance, attitude, race or where they are from.
We see this talked about throughout the whole Bible, before, during, and after Jesus. A subject that is so often spoken about still today and that is because God is Love and God created us. So for us not to love one another, is simply us not truly knowing God.
6. Come Together
We cannot share our love of Christ from the comfort of our living rooms. We need to go out into our communities and become involved. You don’t need to solely come together in a church-based event but rather spread yourself out into areas where you know you can interact with other women.
I have enjoyed talking others where I have worked, at our local food pantry, through work out classes, my local library, and just being around friends and family at our special gatherings. I continue to look for places to spread the Word and will continue to do so.
There is power in numbers, especially those who gather in Jesus’s name as stated in Matthew 18:19-20, “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” James 1:5
Praying is such a powerful gift God has given to us. It allows us to communicate with Him, to lay our troubles down, and to build stronger relationships among those who you are praying with or even for. Nothing is more amazing than to see prayers answered and I can speak of this from my own personal life.
Prayer can take place anywhere and you do not need to be closed in by four church walls to do so. I pray in the morning before my day starts, in the shower, in my car, while I am cooking, before I write, before and after church, basically all the time! I look back before I prayed daily and I honestly do not know how I got through a work week or through personal issues I had gone through. Because of those struggles and lack of a relationship with Jesus compared to how I live now, I know in my heart God is the only one we can rely on.
God has given me things beyond what I could even imagine! Prayer has a lot to do with these blessings, along with trusting and honoring Him. If you would like to read some tips on how to get your prayer life back on track, check out Nick’s article, 7 Ways To Reignite Your Prayer Life.
I am so excited to continue to focus on growing, learning and spreading the Word of God to women that are in and who will be brought into my life. The immediate changes I see in myself I know are available to anyone and the excitement of it all comes directly from knowing I could introduce Jesus to a woman who doesn’t know him!
I have created a small pocket-sized ring book that you can place in your purse or even attach it to your keychain that contains 10 Bible verses that you can share with someone who has never heard the Gospel. To make, just simply take a single hole puncher and punch the upper left-hand corner circle and place a binder ring to connect all 11 cards. I would recommend printing them on heavy card stock or laminating the sheets first, then cutting them out so they are more durable and last!
If any you ladies have a great experience to share or any other ways you have found useful when it comes to discipling women, I would love to hear from you! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.