Simple Discipleship for People in Traumatic Situations

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God has a heart for people in difficult situations. Some of the greatest warriors in the Bible were those who heard the cry of the oppressed and stood in the gap.

One person standing in the gap for women who have gone through trauma and difficulty is Ariyana Rimson. She is the Executive Director of the Moriah house in Memphis, TN, where she disciples women in difficult circumstances.

The women discipled through Moriah house have been through difficulties such as homelessness, addiction, trafficking, mental illness, and much more.

We can learn a few lessons from what Ariyana is doing.

First, people who go through trauma can distrust God as their Father. Some cried out to God in times of trouble and didn’t seem to receive an answer.

Ariyana finds that people in general need to recognize the God of love when they have primarily seen Him as the God of judgment. This realization draws them closer to God and increases their desire for Him.

Second, God’s love is demonstrated through real people (life on life) discipling others through the Word of God. Ariyana’s discipleship approach focuses on teaching people to walk with the Lord by listening to His voice from the Bible in order to live for Him through obedience and accountability.

She isn’t making churchgoers; she is making disciples! She takes great joy in walking with women into what it means to follow Jesus through reading and obeying what the Bible says.

Third, the Bible is practical to everyday life and this reshapes the women’s identities. When they dig into God’s Word, they find that the Scriptures address their questions and situations.

As they begin to read, understand, and live out the Scriptures, they undergo a reframing of their identities—from addicts or mentally ill people to children of God as they learn to walk with God and see both God and themselves in a new way.

Ariyana walks the women through Genesis and onward as she explains what it means to be made in God’s image and for a purpose that God defines.

Ariyana’s approach to making serious disciples who are living every day for Jesus focuses on specificity and self-feeding.

1) She has the women memorize Scriptures that apply to their situation. She teaches how to find key words and search the Bible for answers to their specific problems. This helps them when they are under attack because they have a an authoritative response from the Bible.

2) She has them pray for their specific issues rather than just having others pray for them. Sometimes new converts in tough situations think they need more mature Christians to pray for them and fail to pray for themselves.

3) She has them study the Word. This approach is simple and has four parts:

  • Observation (What does a passage say?)
  • Correlation (Where is the concept in other passages?)
  • Interpretation
  • Application

Seeing the example of their counselors and Ariyana helps these women follow this model of discipleship (so they don’t relapse). These are not principles just to be verbally taught but to be lived out so the approach can be caught and owned.

When the women see more mature believers model what it looks like to identify a sin problem, search the Scriptures for answers, memorize relevant passages, and live in obedience to what they have learned, they quickly learn practices to emulate for the rest of their lives.

We love and appreciate what Ariyana is doing at Moriah house in Memphis as well as her willingness to share her approach with others. She will be one of the keynote speakers at the upcoming National Disciple Making Forum in November!

We hope you will make plans to register for the forum and hear Ariyana and so many more powerful disciple makers share testimonies that will bless your ministry and life!

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