“Disciplemaking” isn’t coaching; it isn’t just being a teacher or leader. There are distinguishable, measurable differences: disciplemakers make disciples of Jesus who make more disciples of Jesus to the third and fourth generation. Multigenerational disciplemakers don’t just strive to “teach,” but out of our joy, we long for transference and we labor toward maturity. Intentionally helping others become not like us, but like Jesus.
Jack: Welcome to The Apprentice Approach Podcast Episode 013, where the ripples far exceed the splash… this is your host Jack McQueeney.
Many Christians struggle with making disciples; they feel busy, overwhelmed, and not qualified. We understand this struggle, which is why we’ve created a Bible-based framework so any believer can master the art of disciplemaking.
Today we’re going to focus on that last part: “master the art of disciplemaking.” You know, “disciplemaking” isn’t coaching; it isn’t just being a teacher or leader. There are distinguishable, measurable differences: disciplemakers make disciples of Jesus who make more disciples of Jesus to the third and fourth generation.
Multidimensional, multigenerational disciplemakers don’t just strive to “teach,” but out of our joy, we long for transference and we labor toward maturity, intentionally helping others become not like us, but like Jesus.
You know, we believe maturity in disciplemaking is actually measurable. Our friend Jim Downing would always use the example of botany to explain this – a fruit tree is mature when it produces fruit. Every believer is called to both God’s first command in Genesis 1:27-28: “…be fruitful and multiply…” and Jesus’ last command in Matthew 28:19-20 to “…go and make disciples…”. You can hear more on what it is to disciple toward maturity in our very first podcast “The Definition of Discipleship” with Jim Downing.
Okay! So now we’ve laid some groundwork on the definition and the measurability of disciplemaking, but HOW do we do it? What does it look like?
Let’s jump into today’s episode to see what generational disciplemaking actually looks like… in real life!
Jack: We have a special time planned for you today. We have three young women in the studio and we’re gonna talk about generational disciplemaking. We’ve got some exciting things and some guests that we’re going to have introduce themselves to you this morning. So, Katlyn, would you like to start for us?
Katlyn: Yes, hello, I am so happy to be here! I’m really excited about this. My name is, yes, Katlyn, and I was first introduced to the idea of discipleship as a child and I remember very clearly a counselor I had when I was a camper at Eagle Lake, who lived in Colorado Springs, in the off season I asked if she could meet with me and I was, I think, only in sixth grade. But, she would come pick me up from my house and then she would take me to a coffee shop or to someplace fun and we would just spend a little time reading the Bible together and then praying together. And, I just remember so clearly one time her talking about how God had written our names on the palm of His hand; and, I remember her writing my name in the palm of her hand. And, that just really inspired me because she cared so much about me and I just remember thinking, “I can do this too, I can do this with other people.” And one of those people eventually was Abby, and so I’m going to throw this over to her so she can introduce herself to you.
Abby: Well, hi guys! So excited to be here with you. My name is Abby and I was first introduced to discipleship actually at Eagle Lake Camps as well. When I was a camper there, I was discipled by my counselor and I just remember thinking, “Man! She’s so cool and she wants to spend time with me?” Um, so we just had such a sweet friendship and she really began to show me, not just what the Bible said, but also what God was doing in her life as well. And, that just felt so personal and I remember thinking, “Oh wow, God is using her even in her not being perfect and still figuring things out and that is – really was – a huge catalyst in me coming to know the Lord. And so, um one of the things I think that she taught me was that discipleship isn’t optional. Um, and that really has propelled the rest of my walk with Jesus. And so, I’ve actually had the privilege of discipling a girl named Carmelle, she is awesome, um and with us today. So, Carmelle do you want to introduce yourself?
Carmelle: Yes, hi! Um, my name is Carmelle, my story’s pretty similar to the other two ladies here. But, so I was first introduced to discipleship up at Eagle Lake Camp. Um yeah, I was counseled by a counselor that I had and she was really passionate and really devoted to my understanding of the Gospel and how that was playing into my life at home, which yeah, is something that I won’t forget. Um, and then coming back down off the mountain and kind of just going through regular life, I was approached by Abby who really just took time every week to, um, go through the Bible with me and pray with me.
Jack: That’s great! That’s great! Well, three generations of, uh, disciplemakers. I’m excited to be able to talk with you! You each represent a different generation, and I want to start with you Katlyn. Tell me why you think it’s important to be very intentional up front in your time together and how that reflected in your time with Abby.
Katlyn: Yeah, that’s a great question. Um, Abby – I knew Abby when she was actually a camper. I was a counselor when she was a camper at Eagle Lake. But that was not when we first, um, started our discipleship relationship. It was actually a couple years later, when my husband was running the Crew Program and Abby was his Crew Program Coach. So, she was one of the Leadership and so it was my role to meet with her throughout the summer. And that was, first of all, just the sweetest time; but, I remember it also being really crazy because I had an almost one-year old and I was also pregnant and so, um, and then I was meeting with Abby and several other Crew Counselors as well. And so, time was very limited – just in my own personal life and then also in meeting with these girls – and I was… I just also remember feeling tired a lot of times. And so, I didn’t have the capacity to be super strategic and come up with a plan of: this is where Abby needs to grow and this is how I’m going to help her grow and this is what we’re going to do together. But, I just remember, in my own time in being discipled by other women throughout the years, how important and valuable time in the Word and prayer was together; and so, um, and even just in my own walk with Jesus, I just knew that I needed time in the Word and prayer every day to really be abiding in Him well. And so, that was my hope and goal for my time with Abby – was just to really equip her with that and to come alongside her and serve her and encourage her in that and just help her to be filled spiritually; so that, as she was pouring into others, she was not relying on herself, but she was relying on the Spirit to, um, help her as she was meeting with others. And so, we were just very intentional in our time to just talk about life – just what was going on, how she was doing, how I was doing, um and then we just really made sure that we had some time in the Word and that we had time in prayer together. And that was what was always the most encouraging to us – was just that: sharing of life, time in the Word, time in prayer. And so, it wasn’t this big, fancy, strategic thing, I just didn’t have the emotional or just the regular time for that; but that was what was most important to me – was intentionally being in the time – time in the Word, time in prayer, time sharing how we were doing.
Jack: That’s really good. And, I think you had that modeled well from your mom. For those of you who don’t know, Katlyn is our oldest daughter; and all those number of years, Katlyn saw counselors come up and Shaunda get time with her in the midst of, uh, watching the kids and in the midst of “real life.” So, Abby how does that, uh, what does that look like for you with Carmelle and others and what you saw with Katlyn?
Abby: Yeah, that’s a great question, Jack. Um, so actually, how Carmelle and I actually got to know each other was really fun! Um, I had been a part of Eagle Lake’s Crew Program, which Katlyn talked about previously, for a couple years and Carmelle was one of our campers and I remember thinking she was really funny, and hilarious, um, and I was kinda slowly getting to know her. We’d spent a couple summers at camp together at that point. And – I think it was your second summer – I had just moved out to Colorado to actually start leading the Crew Program, and previously, I had led Bible Studies and discipled girls – really all through college, and um, even at the end of high school – but when I moved out to Colorado, I didn’t really know anyone. And so, I remember praying, “Lord you have given me such a clear ministry during the summer, but what does disciplemaking look like year-round, when camp isn’t running and I’m not like highly invested in all these people’s lives? What does discipleship look like?” And so, um, I remember there was one day I was sitting in the dining hall and Carmelle and a couple other campers – Tori and Kiera – we were all sitting around the table and I was just asking them, “What is it like going home from camp? You have this really intense experience of people discipling you, you have really strong community, what does it look like going home?” And they just talked about, “You know, I wish there were other people back at home who were this committed to walking with Jesus and wanted to read the Bible, like “in-depth” study the Bible together; and, we just haven’t found those people quite in our schools or in our communities,” and they just talked about this longing for this really Biblical community who was committed to studying the Bible, walking with Jesus, and uh, practicing discipleship. And I remembered thinking, like, “Well, I could, I could do that – like I could be a part of that.” And, it was one of these moments where I wouldn’t say, like, I felt this crazy calling, you know; but, here was a need that God had equipped me to meet. And so, I just asked them, “Hey, if we started a Bible study would you come to it?” Because, there’s nothing more terrifying, even, you know I think I was like 22 at the time, I’m like, “I don’t want to start a Bible Study and no one show up.” So, I had to confirm that people would come! But, I asked them, like, “If we started a Bible Study and continued to in-depth study the Bible like we’re doing at camp, would you come?” And all three of them were like, “Yes! Absolutely.” And so, there was a handful of girls who were in Colorado Springs who wanted, again, to just keep walking with Jesus and growing in their faith and were really ready for kind of the “next push” – the next step. Um, and so my roommate and I, Allison, decided: “Let’s start a Bible Study and see what the Lord does!” And we started a Bible Study with six high school girls at that point, and um during that season we had really, Allison and I, had really prayed, like you know six girls is a lot of girls and so, “What Lord – who do you want us to really give our time to one-on-one?” And so, we were all reading the Bible together every week; but um, we were just praying: Who do you want us to give our time to one-on-one? And, I just felt like the Lord kept bringing Carmelle to my mind. Carmelle is just so, like, caring and empathetic and she is a quiet leader who has a lot of wisdom and I just remember already seeing that when she was in high school and so, um, I just asked her. I think we had maybe been meeting – I don’t know, maybe three, four months – I just asked her if Tuesday mornings I could come pick her up before high school and read the Bible with her. And so, every Tuesday I would roll up to her house, pick her up, we would get breakfast and just read the Bible and pray together before I dropped her off at school. So, that’s kinda how our discipling relationship began.
Jack: That’s great, Abby! One of the things that, as I listened, you talked about being nervous. What did that look… flesh that out for us a little bit?
Abby: Yeah, I always joke: high schoolers are the most intimidating people I’ve ever met [laughter]! Um so, I was just nervous because: What if I didn’t have something to say? What if they didn’t want to be in a Bible Study with me? What if I, like I don’t know, didn’t have enough wisdom to give them? I know that sounds silly, but I think there’s just always insecurities whenever you are really stepping out in faith and yet, um again, there was a need and God had equipped me to meet it, so that was really my prompting to step out in faith.
Carmelle: Yeah, I felt the same way before starting to co-lead the Bible Study that we’re currently in. Yeah, I just remember feeling very afraid, thinking about all the, uh, “dis-qualifiers” and trying to grapple with the fact that I am not disqualified from sharing the Gospel; it’s something that is pertinent and yeah, not optional.
Jack: That’s great Carmelle! Well, one of the things that I wanted to get with Katlyn is: What are some of the things that you learned in your – as you were being discipled – and how did those things get passed on generationally to others? And, um, flesh that our for us, Katlyn.
Katlyn: Yeah, yeah that’s great. I met with a girl in college, her name was Katie, um, for all through my college career. And, Katie was so passionate about prayer. And, I remember doing several different studies on prayer, um, and just taking a lot of time when we were together to just be praying. And not always praying in the same way – really practicing different ways to pray. She especially loved praying through Psalms; and, I remember really loving that and learning that from her. And so, I think, even kind of unconsciously, I just really embraced that and remembered – or just embraced the fact that – when I’m meeting with someone, we need to be praying together. And so, I know that in my discipleship relationships, I’ve always been very intentional to make prayer a big part of what we’re doing in our time together. I think for me, partly because it’s so easy to say, “Okay, what I can be praying for you this week?” And then, – I know I’m not great at following up in that in my prayer life – making sure I’m intentionally praying for that person outside of our time together. It’s something I want to be intentional in and am working towards, but it’s just a personal feeling of mine. But, when I can make sure that when we’re together, we’re praying for those needs together, it’s just so sweet and there’s just something, man, I could go on about this for forever! But, it really breaks down walls; it really builds vulnerability; and, it really builds the relationship to be praying together; and, it just invites the Spirit in these beautiful, amazing ways! And so, that’s something that I was passionate about. And actually, but I didn’t necessarily realize I was making it such a priority until I was talking with Abby about this podcast… and I’m gonna let her tell her side of the story.
Abby: Yeah, you know it’s funny, I think we always lean into the places that we feel more comfortable and I would say reading the Word, uh, and studying the Word is definitely more my comfort zone and prayer is something that really stretches me. Uh, you know, right now Carmelle and I actually lead a high school Bible Study together, so now we’re co-leaders and our high school girls came to us maybe three or four months ago and they were just like, “I – we’re not getting like – our quiet time’s feeling kind of dull, we don’t know what to do.” And, I was just remembering how much time Katlyn had spent praying with me and teaching me how to pray. And, I feel like our girls really know how to study the Bible and it’s so sweet that that’s such a strong skill of theirs, but I feel like prayer is a weakness, especially because that’s my weakness, and sometimes you pass down your own weaknesses to the women you disciple. And so, I just invited them over one Saturday, uh, and it felt out of my comfort zone too, but we just practiced listening prayer for two hours. And so, for like one month every Saturday they would come over, um, we would sit on my couch and I would just open us up in prayer and say, “Lord we’re listening, we’re here, is there anything you want to say to these girls?” Um, and to be honest, I was nervous because I was like, “What if the Holy Spirit doesn’t say anything to them?” Um, and you know, it was that trusting God with the people you disciple. Um, and as we sat there, it was like pretty quiet and awkward for the first 30-40 minutes, but I kid you not, by the second time we had done listening prayer all three girls who were over were in tears because the Holy Spirit spoke to them and how sweet that it wasn’t me teaching them about Jesus but I was getting to witness the Holy Spirit, um, meet them in their own place and teach them more about who He was.
Jack: Yeah, you know Paul says, “And the things you’ve heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust of reliable men [or women] who would be qualified to teach others also.” Well, Carmelle how did that impact you as you began to see Abby do that with you?
Carmelle: Yeah, um, that’s one of the things I really admire about Abby – is like she digs into those uncomfortable places – and like, really addresses, um, the needs of our group just super well. So, she is good at picking out, like um, I don’t know, Bible Study isn’t a place where we’re supposed to feel 100% comfortable, um, she’s gonna, like, ask those questions that are really going to challenge us, um, and that’s what’s gonna ultimately lead to our growth and spiritual maturity.
Katlyn: Yeah and I think, I hope you guys are hearing this, um, something I’m hearing, as we’re all talking, is just how God uniquely created us to be the person He wanted us to be and so we’re not all discipling the same. And so, the way Katie discipled me was not the way that I discipled Abby; because, I’m not Katie. But, she shared with me what she was passionate about and she shared with me how to be passionate about the Word and prayer. And, I was able to pass on, not specifically how to do that, but my passion for the Word and my passion for prayer to Abby. And, Abby was not me; but, she was able to take that passion for the Word and passion for prayer – or learning that passion for prayer – and make sure that she was equipping Carmelle and the others. And, then Carmelle is also doing this now with other girls in a way that Abby did not do it. Carmelle’s really making it her own, um, but we can pass down that passion for the Word and passion for prayer.
Abby: Well I think, you know, there’s nothing cooler than seeing God raise up someone you’ve discipled to reach a person or a place that you could never go. And, I remember as we started our Bible Study, when Carmelle and I began leading, um, Carmelle just has a strong cool factor – like, it’s just a well-known fact.
Katlyn: It’s so true.
Abby: And, I remember, like, there were – especially one of the girls – just like, looked up to Carmelle, totally connected with Carmelle and I felt like I didn’t know where to go with this relationship with this girl; and yet, God had given Carmelle this, um – this girl was just drawn to Carmelle – and whatever Carmelle said, she totally respected. And so, I just think God is so sweet to raise up disciplers that people you’ve discipled to disciple other people that you couldn’t connect with, you couldn’t reach to. And, I think that’s where we need to make sure that we are winning people to Christ, not winning people to ourselves. And I think, that’s something that can easily happen in discipleship is: am I making these girls rely on me for their spiritual growth or am I coming alongside them, teaching them to rely on Christ so that He can equip them to go disciple others.
Jack: Abby, as you’ve allowed Carmelle to lead out – you’ve taught her how to – you’ve modeled and taught her how to lead in Bible Study. Bring us up to speed on how, of course she’s doing a great job, but how has it been to let her do that? To let her fly by herself?
Abby: Yeah well, I think my proudest, like, discipling moment ever was, uh, so the six girls we started with in our Bible Study were all graduating high school and half of them were leaving Colorado and the other three were staying in Colorado Springs. And so, me and the girl I was leading with previously, Alison, invited them over to my apartment. We were just hanging out with them chatting and we just asked them all, “Hey, what do you think next year should look like? We’re available, we want to, uh invest in you and continue to help you grow in your relationship with Christ; uh, but what do you think that should look like?” And I remember Carmelle like was so timid and laughing and didn’t want to say what she was gonna say, but she just looked at us and was like, “I think we’re ready to disciple other people but I’m just so nervous.” And that was really what launched this next generation. And so, it’s been so cool because Carmelle and Kiera and myself are now all co-leading this Bible Study; and, it’s been so sweet to be able to step back and know that if I’m out of town for a week, like, they can lead and they can help these girls come to know Christ more. And so, a couple weeks ago, I was, um, out on a trip and it was over Valentine’s Day and so they were like, “Hey, can we actually do something, like, we’re thinking about doing something different for our Bible Study,” and they ended up going through 1st John. And, we have one girl in our Bible Study who is known for asking the hardest questions known to man – and I love her for it – but, if you ever want to be stumped, do Bible Study with her. And so, Carmelle and Kiera led this Bible Study; and of course, this girl is asking a million hard questions. And what they did? Carmelle and Kiera left that Bible Study, dug into the Word, answered these questions, and then connected with her and followed up on all the questions that she had asked. And I think, um you know, it’s been so cool to, again, trust God that He’s gonna use these girls in ways that He, um, maybe I wouldn’t even be equipped to do as much. And so, I think it’s been good to see: it’s gonna look different; and yet, the Holy Spirit is moving through Carmelle and Kiera to disciple the next generation and I’ve gotta trust Him in that.
Jack: Well Carmelle, how did you feel about that, in the midst of it? In terms of being nervous and, uh, looking forward to leading in that? Talk to us about that.
Carmelle: Yeah, well I should first say that we have, like, the most gracious group of girls ever, so really, yeah, I struck gold there. Um, but yeah, as I’ve been going through it, um, I think I’ve really just been digging into practical ways of teaching and instructing so that they can have something to take away from every time we meet. Kind of trying to demystify, like, what it is to seek God in our daily lives; because, I feel like a lot of times that can be fuzzy. Um yeah, the nervousness is still there a lot of the times; but yeah, it’s okay to have those moments of silence and moments of awkwardness.
Jack: Uh-huh, yeah. I think that’s really true. Well Carmelle, why don’t you talk to us about your ministry now and what God has laid on your heart as it relates to what you’ve seen Abby do with you?
Carmelle: Yeah so, um like, we’ve mentioned Abby, Kiera, and I now co-lead a Bible Study of high school girls who have done the Crew program at Eagle Lake Camps. Um, that’s been really beautiful. Um, I was a counselor this past summer at Eagle Lake as well and following up with my campers while I’ve been home has played a huge part into my life, um, not at camp. Yeah.
Jack: That’s good. That’s good.
Carmelle: Um, I’d say some huge things that I have learned from being discipled by Abby has been encouragement and then also being, like, very challenged.
Abby: [laughs] That’s because I would challenge Carmelle a lot; so, I’m glad you continued that on!
Carmelle: No but it’s great because, like, not taking those, like, watered down answers to questions really, like being, pursuing me in like – I don’t know…
Abby: Well, I think Carmelle, like, she was always – she has such a wisdom about her – but, I think often times, especially when discipling high schoolers, you can get very surface-level answers. But, it takes that really digging to understand what do they truly think, what do they truly believe? And, that’s been one of the cool things – like, leading with Carmelle – is that, um yeah, again there’s some relationships where I don’t always have the relational trust to really push into things; and yet, some of those girls trust Carmelle even more, and she’s so good when people maybe give a surface level answer that we can kinda tell that might not be what they think or what they believe, she’s been so good to follow-up and say like, “Are you sure that’s what you’re feeling? Are you sure that’s what you’re thinking?” Um because, if we don’t talk about reality like it is, if we don’t know what people are believing about God, how can you point them to Christ? And, she’s so good at digging into that.
Jack: How did you see Katlyn do that with you, Abby?
Abby: Oh, Katlyn. Um, she doesn’t take surface level answers – ever. Um she, what I love about Katlyn is that she’s soft and yet she’s strong in the same moment. And so, um, there were often times where, again when she was discipling me, I was, um, in leadership, it was like the first leadership role I had ever had! I felt so unqualified and I just wanted to be really good at what I was doing. And so, I think often times I can struggle with, like, how people perceive me. And so, at first it would be really easy to say like, “Yeah, I’m doing great. Everything’s great, everything’s awesome.” And yet, she has such discernment that she would always push into that and ask about very specific things. Um, I think that is always a really good tool – is when you can tell that there’s more – um, asking about specific situations often unearths what may actually be going on under the surface, and she was so good at that.
Katlyn: Thank you. I’m glad you appreciated that, now looking back, maybe not so much at the time? Um, yeah and I definitely had Suz, there was an amazing, amazing human named Suz and she did that for me. And, I think it’s just cool to see how you have that passed on. And, I think what’s so cool about discipleship, I even think about, um you know, going back to Katie and Suz and just when they were discipling me, it wasn’t even always about me, it was also about: we’re doing this for you and the person you’re discipling. So, it’s not just you, but who else? Like, who’s your person that you’re going to be discipling? And, I think that’s what I love so much in seeing Abby, um, and meeting with her: it’s always been – even in our conversations – it’s not just about Abby; she talks about the girls she’s discipling and we talk about – we talked when we were meeting – about the girls she’s discipling during the summer and how what we’re doing can equip them and how she can better equip them. And that was a lot of our conversation, which is just so sweet that it’s not just about me, it’s not just about Abby; but, it’s about someone else too. Not that we’re talking badly, but just how can we equip them? How can we support them? How can we build them to be building the next person? And so, it’s so sweet to see Abby’s relationship with Carmelle. And even though I don’t disciple Carmelle, I don’t know her super well, I care about her and care about her spiritual growth. And, it’s so cool to see Abby not care just for Carmelle but also care so deeply about the girls Carmelle is meeting with and discipling and who they will eventually be discipling. And I think that’s what we love, what I love so much about spiritual generations is it’s not about me and there’s so many places where I hear all the time, “It’s just about me; just take care of yourself; do what’s best for you.” And generational discipleship is: “No, it’s not about you; it’s about the person who’s beyond you – two or three or four steps – how are you going to carry that on?”
Jack: Yeah, that is so appropriate because the ripple does far exceed the initial splash. Well, thank you ladies for your time this morning; we appreciate being together with you and we look forward to another podcast down the road.
Everyone: Thanks, thank you, thanks Jack
Jack: What a joy it was to sit down with these three dynamic ladies! We’ve seen and heard today what it looks like to be a disciple who makes disciplemakers. Even though each of these relationships is unique to the people involved, you can still see the thread… the “jingle of an unbroken chain” if you will… of what it looks like when men and women give themselves to the things of God, pushing past the initial awkwardness, showing up, and sharing focused time: connecting, reading God’s Word, and praying together.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode, learning community and feel encouraged and better equipped! If the idea of discipling toward maturity is a topic you’re enjoying learning more about, we’ve got a number of other great episodes that expand on a lot of what we talked about today! One of those is our very first episode with the late Jim Downing, “The Definition of Discipleship”.
For more on The Apprentice Approach, including the full transcript of this podcast, resources, our blog, and to sign up for emails, visit our website TheApprenticeApproach.org, and if you haven’t subscribed to The Apprentice Approach Podcast in iTunes, do it today!
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Until next time, this is your host, Jack McQueeney, believing God for generations of men and women like you!