We were thrilled when Marvin Lorenzana from Mennonite Mission Network approached our church, New Song Anabaptist Fellowship, with the idea of discipleship groups.
Our mission statement involves raising leaders in the church and equipping them for ministry, and we realized that working through the discipleship program would better enable us to do just that. Even though it seemed daunting to take an entire Saturday for the leaders of the groups to train with Lorenzana, we learned so much and had some major breakthroughs.
One week, soon after training, I asked a young lady in our church if she wanted to enter into a discipleship group with me. She responded by saying that she was just about to ask if I would mentor her. With that confirmation, we began trying to meet on a weekly basis or at least as often as our schedules would allow.
Finding the time to meet was the most challenging aspect for us and involved some pretty creative planning, but we soon started craving the fellowship. The questions in the resource packet that Lorenzana provided, gave us a framework within which to share and pray for each other, and our friendship deepened as our faiths grew. Talking about what God was doing in our lives on a weekly basis was encouraging. And being accountable to and vulnerable with a young adult has also taken my spiritual walk, faith, and uprightness to a whole new level.
Another challenge was being disciplined in Scripture reading throughout a busy week. I developed a routine of reading a chapter of Proverbs every morning (31 chapters for 31 days of a month) and she read a devotional book with Scripture. During our meetings, we’d share what God had revealed to us and how our thought processes were changing. As we read more Scripture, we saw more transformation happening. Scripture really did become daily bread; it came to life and brought life.
One of the most important takeaways from this experience for me has been the importance of getting God’s word in us. Faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17), it teaches us how to think (Philippians 4:8), it renews our minds and transforms us (Romans 12:2), it keeps us from sin (Psalm 119:11), and helps us to be not only a hearer but also a doer of God’s commandments (James 1:22). Proverbs 4 tells us: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore, get wisdom; and with all thy getting, get understanding” (KJV). Wisdom calls to us and is found in both Christ’s words and the Holy Spirit’s revelations when we spend time with God.
Our church is grateful to Mennonite Mission Network for supplying the teaching and resources to better equip the saints to follow God’s word and help raise other disciples as we walk this road together. We know the training has been transformational for those who participated, and we look forward to hearing the stories of others who engage in this challenging and rewarding experience.