When I think of discipleship, I think of the word, “journey.” In fact, when I teach “Christian Discipleship” class every semester, that is how I introduce the topic to my students; that we are all on a journey to know Christ intimately as we navigate through the ups and downs of living in a fallen world. I think “journey” resonates so much with me because I know that spiritual maturity (sanctification) is a lifelong process. We don’t leap into spiritual maturity precisely at the moment we accept Christ as our Lord and Savior. Being a disciple is about the spiritual transformation that occurs as we surrender more of ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And “discipleship” is about helping one another in this process.
Here at CCCB, we take that role seriously ; that, for a season of our student’s lives, we get to speak into their hearts and minds about what it means to walk with Christ. What a grand privilege and responsibility!
And one of the basic truths about discipleship is that it must be intentional. Unfortunately, few people become mature followers of Jesus by accident. Because of this, we are constantly brainstorming about ways to be more intentional in helping our students on their spiritual journeys. Here are a few of the ways we reach out to disciple our students:
- Christian Discipleship class: A class entirely devoted to the spiritual journey.
- Discipleship program: We connect incoming students with upper classmen in a mentoring format.
- Kingdom Counselors: We offer free counseling to all of our students and pair them with one of our counseling interns, under the supervision of our counseling professors.
- Chapel: Twice a week we gather for corporate worship and presentation from God’s Word.
- Dorm devotions
- Day-to-day informal talks and interaction between students and CCCB employees.
To conclude, I still value the words of a professor I had years ago. He said that every Christian needs three people in his/her life. He said that we all need a Paul, a Barnabas, and a Timothy. Basically, the idea was that we all need someone to mentor us (Paul), someone to encourage us often (Barnabas), and someone that we, ourselves, can mentor (Timothy). I don’t know who originally came up with this concept but I love it in terms of discipleship. Discipleship really is a difficult journey as we face the hardship and trials of this present world. But we must never forget that we are on the road together and that discipleship is about helping each other along the way.
I Thessalonians 5:11 says “Therefore, encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.” (NASB)
Aaron Welch teaches Christian counseling courses on the faculty of Central Christian College of the Bible. One of his courses is Christian Discipleship, which is required of first-year students. Aaron is a graduate of Cincinnati Christian University. He and his wife Michelle have three children: Eddy, Joshua, and Emmalie. Aaron also serves as Dean of Men at Central. You may contact him by email (email@example.com).