For years I was a strong proponent and practitioner of one on one discipleship. I loved working with new believers and emerging leaders in this way, watching their lives change in this powerful context.
I was not only a practitioner of one on one discipleship, I also taught others how to do it and I co-authored a best-selling and excellent tool for it that was translated into several other languages—Beginning the Journey, by Ralph Neighbour, Jr., and Jim Egli.
But then something unexpected and surprising happened. I was meeting weekly with a young man named Mark from my small group for coffee at a local Barnes & Noble bookstore. We were working through Beginning the Journey. One morning Mark said to me, “I’m finding this so helpful. Could I invite my friend Brian to join us? He could really use this.”Without giving it a lot of thought, I said, “Sure.”
Brian joined us the next week and at the end of the session, said, “I love this. Could I invite someone?”
Before I knew it, I had a mini-group. What surprised me was that I was not only impacting three times as many people but the relational dynamics—which were already great—got better.
In a one on one discipleship context I am only bringing my spiritual gifts, experience, and wisdom to the other person. But when there are four or so of us, more people are bringing their encouragement, insights, gifts, and practical support.