4 Convicting Reasons You Need Discipleship, No Matter Your Age

Contributing Writer
4 Convicting Reasons You Need Discipleship, No Matter Your Age

I want to ask you two questions. Where do you want to go in your relationship with Jesus? How are you going to get there?

I don’t know how often you think about these questions, but I believe these are questions we need to ask ourselves as we continue on this journey. One way to get where you want to go is through discipleship and mentoring.

When you think about discipleship and mentoring, it’s easy to just picture this process as the older ones teaching the younger ones. While this is a model we see in Scripture and one that is encouraged for men and women, is mentoring or discipling limited only to a relationship based on age? Is it always the older ones teaching the younger ones?

The truth is, mentoring and discipleship don’t necessarily depend on how old you are physically, because age and maturity don’t always go together. This is true whether you are the mentor or the mentee. What matters most is how old you are spiritually, and because people come to Christ at all ages, even adults need discipleship and mentoring too.

What Is Discipleship?

Before Jesus left, one of the last instructions he gave was to make disciples (Matt. 28:19). A disciple is one who follows, and so a disciple of Christ is one who follows Christ and obeys what Christ has said. When we engage in discipleship, we are teaching people how to follow Jesus in every aspect of their life. Because this is a lifelong pursuit that no one will master in this life, it leaves open the door of discipleship for everyone, because we are all learning every day how to be better followers of Jesus.

Here are four benefits of being spiritually mentored.

1. It Challenges You to Keep Going  

There is one truth I want you to acknowledge. It is not always easy to be a Christian. You are fighting the desires of your flesh and you have an enemy who is against you. Add to that the fact that you are fighting the ways of the world. This can become exhausting, especially if you face it alone. Mentoring can keep you motivated to keep going while on the journey. 

There is a very interesting scripture in Galatians that I want you to consider in relationship to this:

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).

This verse tells us two things about the reality of following Christ. When you follow Christ, you may become weary and face temptations to give up. The more isolated and disconnected you are from the body of Christ, the more vulnerable you become to this temptation. That’s why being connected to someone who can encourage you to keep going is necessary. This cuts through all ages, whether you are younger or older in the faith, because if there is enough adversity, we may all feel the urge to give up.

2. It Challenges You to Keep Growing  

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17).

At what point do you reach the moment in your journey with Jesus where you arrive? In this life, that answer is never. There is always another higher step to go because the standard for us is Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I have a long way to go before I achieve that standard.

This is a prime reason discipleship and mentoring can still help you, even if you are older. As you grow in your relationship with Jesus, the type of mentoring you need may change, but the need for mentoring doesn’t. 

Sometimes, as you grow in Christ, the challenges you face grow as well. This can leave you in spaces where you may not know what to do. I am not talking about the choice of doing something sinful, but sometimes you may need help on how to decipher God’s will in a particular area. 

About two years ago, we were trying to decide if we should stay at our church or if it was time to leave. Because we were involved in ministry and this was a family decision, I leaned on some men I trust to provide wisdom to help in making this decision. Their input was crucial because they could point out things that I may have missed, and without it, I would have been left without additional counsel. As you continue to grow, the questions and situations may change, but the need for mentoring and discipleship will not. It is even better when you have already established those types of relationships in your life.

3. It Provides the Opportunity to Learn from Someone Who May Be Further Along

The journey of growth in Christ is one that takes place over time. Regardless of how far you go, there are always those who have already gone where you desire to go. These are the best people to surround yourself with.

It has long been said that if you want to do something, find those who have done it before you and follow their lead. This is what mentoring and discipling are, and we do this in many walks of life. It is not uncommon for someone on the job to mentor an employee in their career. When this happens, the person who has advanced further helps the one who wants to advance their career and even get to or beyond where their mentor is. We can do the same thing in the body of Christ.

4. When You Are Being Discipled, You Are Following Christ’s Lead

When Jesus walked the earth and began his ministry, he did not do it alone. He chose twelve men to be close to him, and he taught and trained these men. While he had other followers, he poured his life into these twelve. By doing this, he positioned them to carry the message forward when he was no longer with them physically. Jesus knew his time on earth would be short and, as you know, they only spent about three years with him. But Jesus made the most of his time with these men.

That is why mentoring is so critical. There are people that have knowledge, wisdom, and experience they need to pass on to someone else. When they do this, they allow what they have learned to live on in the people they have mentored. 

Let me ask you these questions.

- Are there people you know who have more experience walking with Jesus than you do?

- Do you know of any people who may have more years of ministry experience than you do?

- Are there people in positions of ministry that you would aspire to one be in day?

If your answer is yes to these questions, then finding a mentor is critical. I have served in ministry for over thirty years, but there are still more things to learn about it. Thankfully, there are people around me who are willing to share their experience and whom I can learn from. This will only make me better in the work I do for the Lord.

Final Thought

One of my favorite preachers made this comment. “I am sometimes the teacher, but always the student.” This is a man who has been a successful pastor for over thirty years. If he can recognize the need to always be learning, then so can we. People who have this mentality will continue a pattern of growth and will position themselves to become the person God wants them to be. This should be your desire, regardless of how old you are.

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/palidachan

Clarence Haynes 1200x1200Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, and co-founder of The Bible Study Club.  He is the author of The Pursuit of Purpose which will help you understand how God leads you into his will. His most recent book is The Pursuit of Victory: How To Conquer Your Greatest Challenges and Win In Your Christian Life. This book will teach you how to put the pieces together so you can live a victorious Christian life and finally become the man or woman of God that you truly desire to be. Clarence is also committed to helping 10,000 people learn how to study the Bible and has just released his first Bible study course called Bible Study Basics. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com