Most women’s ministries offer a discipleship program at some point. While there is no “one size fits all” model for how to implement discipleship, here are some ideas to help you get started.
As you begin planning, make sure you answer the following questions:
- What is the purpose of your program?
- What is the content of your program?
- How are mentors selected and trained?
- To whom are mentors accountable?
If these questions are neglected, we risk reducing discipleship to moralistic fluff and/or a glorified buddy system.
One part of a whole
In my experience a discipleship program works best when it is one component of a larger women’s ministry and/or other church-wide ministries and when it neither replaces nor duplicates existing Bible studies.
Try small groups
Consider small groups (1 leader for 2-5) rather than one-to-one. Small groups allow more women to participate and tend to encourage greater accountability.
Yet “groups” does not mean the leader must be a teacher. Rather the leader acts more like a spiritual mother, facilitating discussion in an informal setting designed to build relationships.
Typically, there are more younger women seeking to be mentored than older woman willing to mentor. Recruitment may go smoother if you give the mentors specifics about what the commitment involves. For instance:
“Responsibilities of leaders:
1. Lead a group of 2 to 5 women.
2. The group will meet once a month, preferably in your home or in the homes of participants. If needed, groups can meet at the church.
3. The time-frame is two years, meeting at least once per month, though we understand that circumstances may prevent you from completing this term.
4. This is not a formal teaching situation. These are informal groups designed to nurture relationships.
5. This is a nurturing ministry, not a counseling ministry. But the leader is not the only nurturer. One of the benefits of a small group is that the nurturing will be mutual as group members help and encourage each other.
Our prayers are with you as you consider this ministry opportunity. If you feel called to accept, we will provide training and support.”